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Between the lines: Trump privately thinks ACA lawsuit will fail in court

Illustration of republican medical red cross
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

A major misconception on Capitol Hill right now is the notion that Mick Mulvaney is behind President Trump's decision to back a lawsuit to demolish the Affordable Care Act.

After a week of talking to sources who've discussed the matter privately with Trump, it's clear that this health care push is coming from the president himself. These people say Trump thinks it's a great idea to try to brand the GOP as "the party of health care” by backing the controversial litigation and pushing for legislative change.

Behind the scenes: Trump has privately said he thinks the lawsuit to strike down the Affordable Care Act will probably fail in the courts, according to two sources who discussed the matter with the president last week.

  • Trump's view is that Democrats are going to bash him up on health care in 2020 regardless, so ignoring the issue won’t work.
  • He says he wants to "brand" himself and the Republican Party as caring about health care and pre-existing conditions. He plans to repeat this message again and again and again.
  • Trump has asked Republicans to come up with a replacement plan, even though nobody thinks they've got a chance of passing anything through this divided Congress. On top of that, Republicans had 8 years to come up with an Affordable Care Act replacement and couldn't do it.