When asked about this convenient contradiction during a news briefing, White House Press Secretary
Now, in an even more hilarious turnabout, Trump is discounting the
Monday, during the daily White House media scrum, NBC's Peter Alexander got into a testy exchange with Spicer over the president's very elastic and self-serving use of facts. First, they sparred about Trump's unsupported allegation that Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower. Spicer tried to pretend that Trump's allegation had not been a very specific and personal attack on the former president. Then they argued about the CBO's healthcare estimates.
After Spicer had finished his verbal pretzel making, Alexander asked, "Can you say affirmatively that whenever the president says something, we can trust it to be real?"
"If he's not joking," Spicer said.
Well, an agile comedian can always find a gullible chump to be the object of his humor and, in the case of healthcare, the butt of Trump's joke is the older, white working-class voter who cheered loudly when candidate Trump guaranteed insurance coverage for every American. "Everybody's going to be taken care of much better than they're taken care of now," Trump said in the early days of the campaign, a promise he continued to repeat. Under his magical, imaginary scheme, premiums would go down and Medicaid would not be cut.
Now that there is a real plan to be scrutinized, Trump claims it matches his campaign rhetoric, even in the face of compelling evidence to the contrary. Numbers from the CBO are seldom perfectly accurate, but they are generally a good predictor of the costs of legislation. And, in the case of the GOP healthcare legislation (dare we call it "Trumpcare?"), not only will millions of people lose insurance coverage, but premiums will shoot up for older citizens who will lose much of their federal subsidy and Medicare funds for the working poor will be slashed.
And here's the punchline: Many of those who get slammed by these changes will be people who believed Trump's promises and gave him their votes; folks of modest means and limited education who are getting up in years and need the help of government to pay their medical bills when they get sick.
They trusted Trump. It's too bad Sean Spicer was not around to explain Trump's sense of humor to them back on election day. Their future president, he could have said, can be trusted, "if he's not joking."
Follow me at @davidhorsey on Twitter
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