President Donald Trump warned Republicans Tuesday that they would continue to lose elections if they run away from health care.
The president spoke to Republicans at the annual National Republican Congressional fundraiser dinner, immediately noting that Republicans were not in the majority anymore, a theme that he returned to throughout his speech.
“We have to win, we have to take back the House,” Trump said. “What really lost it and really helped us lose it was health care because we didn’t have an alternative.”
He elaborately imitated a confused Republican congressman who did not have an answer to the high cost of health care.
“You got to confront it!” he said. “Republicans should not run away from health care, you can’t do it, you’re going to be clobbered.”
He admitted that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not appreciate his latest push on health care, but warmed to the idea once he realized that the vote would take place after the 2020 elections. Trump said it was essential for Republicans to campaign on health care.
“It’s been a tough subject,” he acknowledged. “If we stay away from that subject, we’re going to lose, because it’s too important.”
He noted that Republicans beat Democrats on issues like border security, a strong military, taxes, and other issues, but that Democrats could win elections on health care alone.
“They have health care right now, we have to take that away from them,” Trump said.
He recalled a “friend” running for governor who lost a race in 2018 that he should have easily won and said that any future Republican candidate had to protect coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, a concept that some Republicans were not comfortable with.
“We’re doing the right thing, and if you don’t support it, you don’t have a chance of winning, I just want to be blunt,” Trump said.
Trump said he was working with his administration officials and members of Congress behind the scenes to come up with a plan that was far less costly to the people.
“People don’t like Obamacare, people forgot about it,” he said, referring to the high premiums and high deductibles. “We were so close, we were one vote away!”
Trump said he was frustrated that the effort to repeal Obamacare came up short, right after he took office.
“We blew it the last time, man, I was fed a bill of goods. Some of you, I’m still a bit angry at some of you, but not all of you.”