Trump says he wants victories — but he isn’t selling the GOP agenda to voters

When the GOP’s proposed overhaul of the nation’s health-care laws was near death in the House in March, President Trump rallied 10,000 supporters in downtown Nashville and reassured his party’s base.

“It’s going to be fine,” Trump told the audience about 25 minutes into his speech. “We’re going to all get together. We’re going to get something done.”

But in the four months since, Trump has done relatively little to make it happen. The president has treated health care and a host of other legislative agenda items, from to , as issues to be hammered out by lawmakers with often-scant direction from the executive branch — and with decidedly mixed signals from Trump himself.

Trump’s sporadic salesmanship on the bills and ambitions lingering on Capitol Hill has become a defining characteristic of the complicated relationship between the president and congressional Republicans. Although Trump routinely proclaims his desire for political victories, he has yet to make a full-throated case to the country about legislation that Congress is pursuing and has spent a modest amount of time attempting to twist arms in the House or .

The White House on Friday launched a forceful push on health care at the National Governors Association meeting, but Trump himself wasn’t involved and it wasn’t clear how many minds the effort might change.

Trump — who relished his ability on the campaign trail to capture the public imagination and use his bully pulpit — more frequently plays the role of partisan cheerleader or frustrated onlooker from the White House. Executive actions, foreign policy flare-ups and the probes into Russian election interference have commanded much more of his time.

Several Republicans staffers said privately this week that they wish Trump would hold more rallies and other events aimed at bolstering Republican leaders’ efforts to advance health-care legislation and other key priorities. Instead, Trump has remained largely aloof save for stray remarks — such as his tweet calling for a straight repeal of the Affordable Care Act — that have only made cobbling together votes harder.


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