Former Obama White House press secretary Josh Earnest appeared to agree with President Donald Trump’s assessment that Obamacare is “going to explode.”
Earnest made his observation during the first day of his new gig as a political analyst for NBC News, appearing on Today.
NBC’s Matt Lauer asked the former press secretary to discuss why he believed the Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace Obamacare fell short.
Speaking unquestionably from first-hand experience, Earnest observed, “Governing is more complicated and more difficult than campaigning. The challenge of this starts at the top.”
“If you’re not willing to call the other side and build bipartisan legislation, you’re going to have trouble as long as your party remains so divided,” he added.
Former President Barack Obama was often criticized for not doing the outreach needed to build congressional support to pass bipartisan legislation.
Lauer followed up: “Is this a problem with the chief of staff, Reince Priebus? Was this a problem with Steve Bannon? Was this the vice president, who knows Congress? Who missed the stop sign?”
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) March 27, 2017
“They all did. It’s clear there are fissures in the Republican party that cannot be breached even by somebody like Mike Pence, who’s got a lot of great relationships with conservative Republicans,” Earnest replied.
He went on to contend the problems with Obamacare “can be solved.”
“It is just not tenable to be in a position where the president of the United States is willing to accept that Obamacare is just going to explode,” he explained. “The American people expect you to solve problems, not stand idly by, while people get hurt.”
The former press secretary further observed, “The one unifying principle has been instinctive, reflective opposition to everything related to President Obama. That’s why it was easy for them to repeal Obamacare.”
“But when it came to replacing it, when it came to building a coalition to actually do something proactive and positive for the country, there’s no consensus in the Republican party,” Earnest said.
His overall observation, based on this first major legislative outing under the new administration and Republican Congress, is that “the Democrats in Congress are holding a much stronger hand than it looked like they were holding 65 days ago.”
Trump places some of the blame for the American Health Care Act’s failure at the feet the House Freedom Caucus and conservative interest groups like Heritage Action and Club for Growth; however, both he and Vice President Mike Pence sounded an optimistic tone that Obamacare will ultimately be replaced.
ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 25, 2017
At an event in West Virginia on Saturday, Pence said, “Congress just wasn’t ready.”
He stated the failure of Republicans to agree on a repeal-and-replace plan was a “victory of the status quo in Washington, D.C. and a victory for Obamacare. I promise you that victory won’t last very long.”