WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Wednesday promised a “great, great surprise” on the Senate Republican health care bill as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell worked to restart the stalled legislation.
Trump did not say what that surprise might be but he expressed optimism about passage of the legislation a day after McConnell delayed a vote on it because of opposition within his own party by both conservatives and more moderate Republican senators.
“We’re going to have a big surprise. We have a great health care package,” Trump said. Asked what that surprise might be, Trump said, “We’re going to have a great, great surprise.”
Trump also rejected overtures by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), whose 48-member caucus has steadfastly opposed Republican bills to replace and revamp much of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
“President Obama invited both parties, Democrats and Republicans, to Blair House to discuss health care reform in front of the American people early in his first term as President,” Schumer said on the Senate floor Wednesday.
“President Trump, I challenge you to invite us — all 100 of us, Republican and Democrat — to Blair House to discuss a new bipartisan way forward on health care in front of all the American people.”
But Trump said, “I don’t think he’s serious. He hasn’t been serious. Obamacare is such a disaster. And he wants to try and save something that’s hurting a lot of people.”
Trump made his comments as he met in the Oval Office with the 2016 World Series champion Chicago Cubs, five months after President Barack Obama hosted the team at the White House.
Earlier, at a roundtable on the administration’s energy initiatives, the president talked about his meeting Tuesday afternoon with Republican senators to discuss the health care bill.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said 46 of the 52 GOP senators attended.
“I have to tell you, the Republican senators had a really impressive meeting yesterday at the White House. We had close to 50 of them,” Trump said. “I think we’re going to get at least very close, and I think we’re going to get it over the line.”
Meanwhile, the White House announced that Trump had accepted French President Emmanuel Macron’s invitation to visit France for the July 14 Bastille Day celebrations.
Macron issued the invitation on Tuesday in a telephone call with Trump, in which they talked about their meeting during the G-20 summit in Germany on July 7 and 8, and also discussed the threat of a new chemical weapons attack by Syria.