As the House of Representatives prepares to vote today on the GOP’s alternative to Obamacare, a question hovering over negotiations on the bill is whether President Trump’s reputation as a dealmaker in business can translate to working with Congress.
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Trump’s 1987 bestselling book, "The Art of the Deal," branded him as a master at cutting deals.
Over the past week, Trump has sought to apply his negotiating skills to rally support for the American Health Care Act from both moderate and conservative Republican lawmakers who have expressed either concerns about the bill or outright opposition.
Trump wrote in his book, "Sometimes, part of making a deal is denigrating your competition.”
In a closed-door meeting with House Republicans on Tuesday, the president cautioned them not to be “fools.”
According to a House member in the meeting, Trump also, with a smile, pointed out House Freedom Caucus leader Mark Meadows, who’s opposing the bill, and warned him: “I’m gonna come after you.”
Trump met with the the conservative Freedom Caucus on Thursday, but did not reach an agreement to overcome the group's concerns about the bill.
Then this morning, ahead of an expected vote in the House today, Trump posted a tweet aimed at that caucus.
The irony is that the Freedom Caucus, which is very pro-life and against Planned Parenthood, allows P.P. to continue if they stop this plan!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 24, 2017
Trump wrote in "Art of the Deal" of his persistence in negotiations.
“My style of deal-making is quite simple and straightforward. I aim very high, and then I just keep pushing and pushing and pushing to get what I’m after," he wrote.
After House GOP leaders on Thursday postponed a vote on the health care bill when it was clear they lacked the votes to ensure its passage, Trump took another page out of "Art of the Deal." The White House delivered a late-night ultimatum to Republican House members: Vote today or the president is prepared to move on to other business.
In his book, Trump also wrote about the importance of knowing "when to walk away."
"Know when to walk away from the table." The Art of the Deal— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 27, 2011
“The worst thing you can possibly do in a deal is seem desperate to make it.” – The Art of The Deal.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 25, 2013
Trump answered questions from reporters this morning in the Oval Office on what he’ll do if the bill fails. “We’ll have to see, see what happens,” he said.
At around 11 a.m. today, the House voted along partisan lines -- with most present Republicans voting yes and all present Democrats voting no -- to move the bill to the floor. Congress members will have four hours to debate the bill before voting.