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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

President not believable on Congress, health law, bereaved

President Donald Trump gives a speech at the

President Donald Trump gives a speech at the Heritage Foundation's President's Club Meeting in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 17, 2017. Credit: AFP/Getty Images / MANDEL NGAN

A lack of plausibility in President Donald Trump’s public statements became especially apparent this week as he commented on several hot topics.

Trump told reporters in the Rose Garden on Monday that he and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are “closer than ever before and the relationship is very good.”

So why did Trump’s self-proclaimed “wing man” Steve Bannon declare a GOP primary “war” on McConnell allies? Why are the White House and congressional staffers constantly knocking each other? Why does Trump blame failed legislation on elected majority Republicans?

“I have a fantastic relationship with the people in the Senate, and with the people in Congress,” Trump insisted.

He happened to be standing next to McConnell, so he clearly wanted to keep up appearances. If Trump had said, “We disagree on some stuff, but we’re working it out,” it would have sounded less absurd, without insulting the intelligence of those listening.

Also Monday, Trump was asked why he had not spoken publicly about four Green Berets slain two weeks ago in an ambush in Niger.

Instead of answering that question, he said he’d written personal letters to their families that would soon be in the mail and planned to call them within a week.

“If you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls,” he went on to claim. “A lot of them didn’t make calls. I like to call when it’s appropriate.”

Nobody else on Tuesday was backing up his assertion.

Even Trump backed off a bit when questioned later:

“I was told he didn’t often, and a lot of presidents don’t. They write letters.”

“President Obama, I think, probably did sometimes and maybe sometimes he didn’t. That’s what I was told. All I can do is ask my generals.”

The president also declared Obamacare “dead” and “gone.”

“It’s no longer — you shouldn’t even mention. It’s gone,” he said.

Repeal efforts, in fact, have famously failed. The Affordable Care Act remains on the books.

Trump followed up by saying: “I think we’ll have a short-term fix, with Republicans and Democrats getting together.”

If Obamacare were gone, there would be nothing to “fix” — and thus no controversy over his declared cutoff of federal funds to subsidize certain insurance markets.


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