WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said on Saturday he called Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Friday to see if Democrats “want to do a great HealthCare Bill” after Republicans failed to repeal Obamacare and a bipartisan deal has stalled.
Trump’s tweet, one in a string of early morning Twitter posts, is expected to anger Republicans who have so far been unable to fulfill their seven years of promises to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s top legislative achievement.
“I called Chuck Schumer yesterday to see if the Dems want to do a great HealthCare Bill. ObamaCare is badly broken, big premium. Who knows!” Trump tweeted before leaving the White House for his golf resort in suburban Virginia.
Schumer, the senior New York Democratic senator, acknowledged he talked with Trump, but warned that any plans to dismantle the current federal health law are a nonstarter.
“The president wanted to make another run at repeal and replace, and I told the president that’s off the table,” Schumer said.
“If he wants to work together to improve the existing health care system, we Democrats are open to his suggestions,” he said. “A good place to start might be the Alexander-Murray negotiations that would stabilize the system and lower costs.”
Schumer has backed the Senate’s health committee hearings and deliberations led by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the committee chairman and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the panel’s top Democrat, that began after the Senate failed to pass a repeal bill in July.
But Democrats also complain that Trump and his administration are purposely undercutting and undoing the health law as part of Trump’s vow to let it fail to force Democrats to the table to negotiate a new deal.
They point to Trump’s decision to undercut Obamacare policy by allowing employers to offer health insurance that limits coverage of contraceptives if that conflicts with their religious beliefs.
“Particularly after the birth control decision yesterday, the administration has to stop sabotaging the law before anything real can happen,” a Democratic aide said.
In other tweets, Trump bristled at his treatment by late night comedians — who, he said, always use “anti-Trump” material — and suggested that he be given “equal time” on television.
“Late Night host are dealing with the Democrats for their very ‘unfunny’ & repetitive material, always Anti-Trump! Should we get Equal Time?” he tweeted.
“More and more people are suggesting that Republicans (and me) should be given Equal Time on T.V. when you look at the one-sided coverage?” he posted.
That idea appeared to grow out of a Washington Post story cited by Trump in tweets about the soaring small-dollar donations that have raised nearly twice as much for the Republican Party as the Democratic Party — driven by his base “angered by the sense that the president is being treated unfairly.”
Some comedians responded to Trump’s complaint.
“Excellent point Mr. President! You should quit that boring job — I’ll let you have my show ALL to yourself #MAGA,” comedian Jimmy Kimmel of the ABC late night show tweeted.
Seth Meyers of NBC’s late night show posted: “We’d love to have you! Studio located at 15 Penguin Avenue, Antarctica.”
“The Daily Show” on Comedy Central tweeted: “That’s fair. In the spirit of equal time, here’s 5 minutes of you on Access Hollywood” — and posted the Washington Post story a year ago about what Trump called “locker room talk” about touching and kissing women without permission.
The Fairness Doctrine, which once required broadcasters to give equal time to opposing points of view, was repealed by the Federal Communications Commission in 1987.