President Donald Trump Friday explained the pulling of the American Health Care Act from a House floor vote by saying that "we were very close" and blamed Democrats for not supporting the Republican proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare.
"It was a very, very tight margin," Trump told reporters at the White House, saying that the plan was "10 to 15 votes away" from being approved.
"We had no Democrat support," he said. "We had no votes from the Democrats.
"They weren't going to give us a single vote, so it's a very difficult thing to do.
"I've been saying for the last year and a half that the best thing we can do, politically speaking, is to let Obamacare explode," Trump said. "It is exploding right now."
President Trump declined to cast blame on either House Speaker Paul Ryan or the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which slammed the legislation as "Obamacare-Lite" and as a GOP entitlement program.
"No, they're friends of mine," he said of the caucus. "We could have had it.
"I'm disappointed. I'm a little surprised, to be honest with you.
"We really had it," Trump said. "It was pretty-much there within grasp, but I'll tell you what's going to come out of it is a better bill."
He also praised Ryan for his work on the legislation, which he developed and proposed earlier this month.
"He worked very, very hard," the president said, while also complementing for Vice President Mike Pence and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.
"Everybody worked hard. I worked as a team player and would have loved to have seen it pass."
President Trump said he is moving forward with his own agenda, including tax reform — "which we could have done earlier.
"Remember this: We had no Democrat support," he added. "So, now we're going to go for tax reform, which I've always liked."
Trump added that the top Democrats in Congress, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and House Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, were "the biggest losers" because the Affordable Care Act remained in place.
"Now, they own Obamacare. They own it, 100 percent own it.
"They have Obamacare for a little while longer until it ceases to exist, which it will at some point in the near future," he said. "This is not our bill. This is their bill.
"Now, when they all become civilized and get together and try and workout a great healthcare bill for the people of this country, we're open to it," Trump said. "We're totally open to it."
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