It’s no secret that President Donald Trump doesn’t like to lose. So it was surprising on Friday when the Washington Post’s Robert Costa reported that the president had sounded businesslike, not angry, when he called to say he’d pulled the vote on his GOP health care bill.
The last-minute move came after the legislation — which some (though not the president) have dubbed “Trumpcare” — failed to gather enough votes from House Republicans on Friday. It was a crushing blow for the president, and it seems to have finally humbled him — if only for the moment.
On the phone with Costa, Trump was uncharacteristically subdued and did not bite when asked if he was frustrated or, if facing defeat made for a “tense, tough conversation” with House Speaker Paul Ryan.
“No, not tough,” Trump said, according The Post. “It’s just life.”
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In another phone interview with The New York Times moments after the bill was pulled, Trump, as the newspaper put it, “expressed weariness with the fight.”
“The best thing that could happen is exactly what happened — watch,” Trump said. “It’s enough already.”
Though he told The Post the bill only needed “5 to 12” more votes to pass, he’s already considering a “beautiful,” bipartisan deal in the near future.
Trump’s lackluster (or, to borrow a phrase from the president, low-energy) reaction to the defeat is all the more striking given the indignation and gloating that carried him to the White House.
This is a man who once promised voters on the campaign trail: “We will have so much winning if I get elected that you may get bored with the winning.”
A man who, just two days ago, threatened House Republicans with “political problems” if they voted against his health care bill.
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In the run-up to the roll call, Trump’s aides trumpeted his self-generated reputation as a master dealmaker. “He is the closer,” Press Secretary Sean Spicer assured reporters. Said Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, “The president is a tremendous salesperson.”
Though the president tried to downplay the loss, critics on Twitter were quick to point out that he had suffered an “epic fail.”
Though some were surprised by Trump’s “conciliatory” tone after the failure, at least one Twitter user is waiting patiently for the other shoe to drop.
Tweeted actor Kal Penn: “Can’t wait for Trump to lose his shit tonight at like 4 a.m.”