by Maggie Gallagher
Since yesterday, the media, in a tabloid-like rush, has been focusing on the least important part of President Donald Trump’s frank interview with the editors of The New York Times:
[GLENN] THRUSH: Do you think [Susan Rice] might have committed a crime?
TRUMP: Do I think?
TRUMP: Yes, I think.
He also chided the media for their failure to cover in a high-profile way Susan Rice’s admission that she unmasked Trump associates who were being surveilled and for their obsessive focus instead on something so unimportant to the well-being of the country: Bill O’Reilly’s settled sex harassment cases.
Like I said, there is no mainstream media any more.
The most interesting news out of the interview is that Trump is not yet done with health care.
He has not committed to the border adjustment tax, although he is committed to the “concept,” in part because he says, “We want to see what happens with health care first. Because health care will affect taxes. Because if we get the health care that we want, we are going to end up with great health care and we are going to end up actually with a saving.”
Pause here for an editorial comment on the media: What is the health care Trump wants? It would have been really interesting to ask that question.
I’ve written before that something like the Singapore solution is the only possibility for conservatives, combining a national catastrophic health insurance with mandatory health savings accounts that introduce market forces into the health care market. Obamacare is going to continue its death spiral. Both the Democrats and the Republicans are not going to be able to ignore it for long, as Trump astutely pointed out: “You have many states coming up who have no insurance company.”
He is also going to propose a trillion-dollar investment in infrastructure, which he describes as bipartisan and very popular, especially with Democrats. I’m on board with that. Infrastructure investment — actual, shovel-ready jobs — is both badly needed and will be a boon to the less educated, male Trump voter.
The infrastructure bill will be so popular, in fact, he’s looking to tie it to another of his proposals to ease its passage –maybe healthcare, maybe taxes.
But the really big news point for the day is that Trump sees movement in Congress on health care:
[MAGGIE] HABERMAN: Do you feel there was movement on health care yesterday? There’s been conflicting reports.
TRUMP: Yeah. I do.
This provides some context for President Trump’s statement that Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) told him privately that he could go down as a great president: some combination of a health care proposal that actually works and infrastructure spending would make him seem to an Elijah Cummings as a bit of an FDR.
It all depends on coming up with an alternative to national health insurance that fixes the problem. The problem is not with insurance; it is with out-of-control health care costs that are making insurance unaffordable.
President Trump called the first unpopular GOP health bill “just a negotiation”: “You understand? A continuing negotiation. It may go on for a long time or it may go on until this afternoon.”
The gotcha narratives of The New York Times clearly didn’t faze the president. He has his eyes on the prize: fixing health care, fixing infrastructure, fixing jobs, protecting the country.
All in all, it was an impressive performance.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore