President Donald Trump didn't address the wiretapping story he sparked two weeks ago, and he held back from attacking fellow Republicans at a rally Monday night to gin up popular support for the GOP healthcare bill set for a vote on Thursday.
Trump and his administration have stood by a tweet the president sent out in the early morning hours of March 4 that then-President Barack Obama had ordered a "wiretap" of Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign. But FBI Director James Comey testified before a House committee on Monday he had no information to back up Trump's claims.
Trump covered a variety of issues at his Monday night rally in Louisville, Kentucky, but the wiretapping controversy was not among them. CNN clearly expected him to say something, running an onscreen graphic saying the news network was awaiting his response.
But the response never came, so CNN never joined the rally live.
What Trump did discuss was a laundry list of his achievements during his first 60 days in office, from border security to job growth.
His pitch for the GOP Obamacare repeal and replacement, ostensibly the reason for the rally, came late in the 44-minute speech, but he withheld any intra-party fire for Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a harsh critic of the bill as written.
"I happen to like a lot Sen. Rand Paul," Trump said as the crowd cheered. "He's a good guy. And I look forward to working with him so we can get this bill passed in some form."
Trump's words sounded as though negotiation was still possible, though House Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows, of North Carolina, and Utah Sen. Mike Lee had indicated the White House was standing firm on the bill with no more changes than those to be announced by GOP leadership Monday night.
The bill is set for a House vote on Thursday, but the 40-member Freedom Caucus isn't expected to budge. That would kill the bill in its current form.
Trump told the Louisville crowd he had just earlier Monday ordered a change that drive down the costs of medicine, though he seemed to admit the change might not make it until the second or third phases of the GOP's plans.
"This our long-awaited chance to finally get rid of Obamacare," Trump said. The alternative, he said, "is nothing. The worst. It's the big lie."
If the truth were told about Obamacare's failings, Trump said, "it would be so wonderful for the people of this country because it would just sail right through."
Though Trump held his fire against GOP opponents of the healthcare plan, he didn't hold back on his usual target: the mainstream media. And he drew applause when he slammed former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has reportedly had trouble finding a new team after sparking controversy last season for refusing to stand during the national anthem.
"There was an article today reported that NFL owners don't want to pick him up because they don't want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump," Trump said. "Do you believe that?"
As the crowd cheered approval, Trump said the people of Kentucky "like it when people actually stand for the American flag."
© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.