3. Trump's phone-a-friend
A Trump tweet this morning confirms last night's Axios scoop: "I called Chuck Schumer yesterday to see if the Dems want to do a great HealthCare Bill. ObamaCare is badly broken, big premiums. Who knows!"
The initial reaction among some Republicans was consternation, Jonathan Swan and I reported:
- A well-wired Republican told us: "It codifies the Rs' failure on repeal/replace and shows the President can move without hesitation or ideological impediment to make a deal with the Dems. It depresses R base turnout in the midterms, as Trump voters are further disconnected from the Congressional wing."
Be smart: Trump wants to be the deal guy, and he's going to keep playing the "Chuck and Nancy" card. To him, Republicans consternation is a feature, not a bug.
Between the lines ... Axios health care editor Sam Baker emails me:
- "All of the things Trump and his administration have done on health care — not just pushing for repeal-replace, but independently cutting off enrollment outreach, keeping insurers in limbo about their payments, reportedly putting the kibosh even on Republican governors' efforts to stabilize their markets, all of it — cuts in the exact opposite direction of anything Schumer would want or could abide."
- "If there's any hope for something bipartisan, I would have thought the most likely vehicle for that would have been [Sens.] Lamar Alexander [R-Tenn.] and Patty Murray [D-Wash.], since they're both already working and not nearly as far apart as Trump and Schumer would have to be. Yet that effort is far from a lock."