Trump on health care: ‘In a short period of time I understood everything there was to know’

Dylan Stableford
Senior Editor
President Trump speaks in the Rose Garden at the White House after the House passed the health care bill, May 4. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

President Trump says negotiating health care wasn’t high on his list of priorities as a business owner — he delegated that responsibility to other people at his company. But as the country’s chief executive, Trump says he was a quick study.

“In a short period of time I understood everything there was to know about health care,” Trump told Time magazine in an interview published Thursday. “And actually it’s a very interesting subject.”

Back in February, Trump said he was finding it to be “an unbelievably complex subject.”

“Nobody knew health care could be so complicated,” the president told reporters, in comments that were widely mocked.

In interviews, Trump has largely avoided discussing the specifics of the health care legislation, preferring instead to stick to broad promises of lower premiums and better coverage.

Trump and House Republicans celebrated the passage of their revised bill to repeal and replace Obamacare at the White House last Thursday, more than a month after failing to rally enough GOP support to bring the original bill to a scheduled vote.

But the president told Time he doesn’t see the initial attempt as a failure or even an attempt at all — just a scheduling error.

“There was only one attempt,” Trump said. “There was a mistake, … we set a date. Now had we not set that date, we would have had one time.”

Related: Trump claims that health care deal is ‘easy’ despite earlier implosion

“And when we didn’t vote, everyone said, ‘Trump fails with health care,'” he continued. “The thing that surprised me is, I said, ‘I’m not stopping. And everybody, not one person said that was going to pass.”

The president said it was a bonding experience between himself and the more than 200 House Republicans who voted for the bill.

“It was a great thing,” he said. “I got to know almost every one of them. And I developed a bond with many of them that you can only develop under fire. And it was a great thing. And again, somebody wrote an article where they said this is one of the greatest learning experiences, because Donald Trump has gotten to know every – you know I was with them for eighteen hours a day, calling.”

Trump said he doesn’t understand why people aren’t praising his job performance.

“I don’t quite get it,” the president said. “If I’m going to do a job with the lowering taxes, better health care, take care of people, take care of hospitalization, all the things we’re doing, … you would think that people would like that. And they don’t.”

“I know when I’m successful. I know victory, okay,” he added. “I used to get the credit in business but they want to belittle everything you do. Business is easier because you put something up, it’s good, whatever. But the politics is tough.”

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