But inside the administration, four officials said that Trump and his advisers were searching for proposals to tout as health care accomplishments and latched onto the drug-discount cards just hours before the president’s scheduled address, leaving the health department scrambling to justify the idea.

“We basically didn’t know until the public found out too,” said one health official who’s been consulted on trying to turn Trump’s proclamation into policy.

“It’s turning into this last-minute, thrown-together thing,” said another HHS official involved in the effort.