President Trump told reporters on the lawn of the White House that the reason he can’t get enough healthcare votes for his Graham-Cassidy bill to pass otherwise referred to as Trump care 3.0, is because “a senator is in the hospital.” He made the claim several times when asked repeatedly.
“He can’t vote because he is in the hospital. We have the votes, but we can’t do it now because he’s in the hospital,” Trump said.
It turns out, Trump was referring to Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi, and he isn’t hospitalized at all. After Trump made the comment, Cochran tweeted “Thanks for the well wishes, (but) I’m not hospitalized, I am recuperating at home in Mississippi.”
Cochran was at home recovering from a basic procedure, nothing serious. One of his aides even said that “Senator Cochran would be able to return to Washington “if needed.”
Given this information, it appears Trump is trying to blame failure on one Republican senator, but, the math shows a different story.
There are three hard “no’s” on the legislation offered by Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (La.): Rand Paul (Ky.) John McCain (Ariz.) and Susan Collins (Maine). That means that even if every other Republican senator voted for the bill, it would still only have 49 votes.
In addition, there are several other senators — Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Ted Cruz (Texas), Mike Lee (Utah) — who never said they would vote “yes” on Graham-Cassidy. Even if you assume that Cruz and Lee vote for it, Republicans still only have 48 votes. (Cruz and Lee would seem to be the people Trump was talking about when he said Wednesday that “we have two other votes that are coming, and we will have them.”
Basically, Cochran’s vote is important but even with his vote, Trump’s comment of “we have the votes” simply doesn’t hold water. If they did, Republicans would schedule a vote and Cochran would be able to make the trip to make it happen. This small lie just allows Trump to save face in front of the cameras, and give hope to Trump’s followers that he’ll still be able to live up to his promises at a later date.