President Donald Trump is experiencing moments of "self-doubt" over going along with House Speaker Paul Ryan's healthcare overhaul plan before unveiling proposals for tax cuts that would have proven more popular with Republicans, The New York Times reports.
Citing sources close to Trump, The Times reports that the president has told four people of his regrets, saying that he should have gone for tax reform first when it became clear that the healthcare victory he'd pushed for was not going to happen on Thursday, the seventh anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act.
Further, chief strategist Stephen Bannon and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, like Trump, did not like the compromise that was emerging to attract House Freedom Caucus members to vote for the measure. Trump ended up issuing an ultimatum, telling Republicans the vote must happen on Friday.
Friday, however, the American Health Care Act was pulled from a House floor vote and Trump blamed Democrats for not supporting the GOP proposal.
He told reporters at the White House later on Friday that now his administration will "probably start going very, very strongly for the big tax cuts and tax reform."
The Times' Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman report that Trump, who takes "intense pride" in his dealmaking abilities, had found himself in a negotiation that was not like any others in his career. The matter has left the president with the realization that presidential power has limits when it comes to a stubborn Congressional voting group.
More than a dozen of Trump's aides and allies described his mood as being "impatient and jittery." They said he was more interested in a win than in the specifications of the AHCA, despite warnings from advisers such as son-in-law Jared Kushner, who said it was a mistake to support the measure.
Further, Vice President Mike Pence suggested Trump keep his distance from the bill and urged him to regard it as Ryan's legislation, senior Republicans told The Times.
Pollster David Winston, who works with House Republican leadership, said before Thursday's decision to delay the initial vote that any holdups could block Trump's whole agenda.
“You’re not looking at health care in isolation; you’re looking at an agenda that they want to pursue, and obviously the next big one coming up is going to be tax reform,” he said. “Whichever came first was going to set up the other.”
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