This week — which was Made in America Week by the way — Donald Trump climbed into a fire truck and proclaimed, “where’s the fire?” multiple times, while Vice-President Mike Pence awkwardly stood next to him, laughing:
The fire was consuming Republican health reform plans, which again went up in smoke when they couldn’t agree on the latest iteration of the healthcare bill.
That’s despite controlling both houses of Congress and the presidency after seven years of complaining about Obamacare.
The President was right when he said:
“For seven years I’ve been hearing repeal and replace from Congress — I’ve been hearing it loud and strong. And when we finally get a chance to repeal and replace, they don’t take advantage of it. So that’s disappointing.”
Mr Trump went on to say that Republicans should just “let Obamacare fail”, saying, “I’m not going to own it”.
The latest plan from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is to repeal the healthcare scheme without having a replacement sorted.
Along with the President’s “let it burn” stance, that’s been described as blatantly irresponsible given that it would cause 17 million Americans to lose health coverage in the next year, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Something’s not right …
Mr Trump’s base hasn’t seemed to budge much over the past six months, but perhaps things are starting to teeter in conservative media, particularly after the healthcare kerfuffle.
Here’s The Drudge Report’s homepage after the latest Obamacare failure:
OK, maybe Fox hasn’t changed its tune too much. Here’s Wednesday night’s line-up:
Our thoughts are with John McCain, the Arizona senator who had a blood clot removed only to learn that he was suffering from an aggressive form of brain cancer.
Senator McCain is a giant of the US Senate, and there was an outpouring of affection from colleagues on both sides of the aisle:
They breed them good out in Arizona, where fellow Republican senator Jeff Flake tweeted support for Deedra Abboud, a Muslim and the challenger for his seat, who’s been under attack from haters online.
In a far-reaching interview with the New York Times, Mr Trump waxed lyrical on a range of topics with reporters.
You could say it was almost … poetic:
His harsh words for his Attorney-General — and to a lesser extent his Deputy Attorney-General — led to an uncomfortable press conference:
Mr Trump was also critical (again) of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the Russia probe.
He certainly won’t be happy if the investigation is expanding into his business dealings, as Bloomberg has suggested.
Yes, “Russia mania” continues next week with former campaign boss Paul Manafort and Donald Trump Jr invited to face the Senate Judiciary Committee.
And son-in-law Jared Kushner is appearing behind closed doors with the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Other leaders were apparently flummoxed to observe the animated conversation, but no-one could hear what was said other than Mr Putin’s interpreter.
The White House described the conversation as a “pull aside” that lasted maybe 15 minutes, not the reported hour, and Mr Trump said reporting of the dinner was “sick”.
Nothing to see here people.
By the numbers:
36 per cent: that’s the number of Americans that support the President’s job at the six-month mark — a 70-year low according to the ABC News/Washington Post poll out this week.
Don’t worry, Don, at least you’re not as unpopular as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who nabbed a foul ball at the Mets game this week, much to the dismay of the fans:
And finally, here’s a compilation from Vice of the President saying “billions” over and over again. It’s mesmerising: