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The 13 Male Republicans Drafting the Senate Version of TrumpCare on the House’s Version

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‘We Have No Interest in Playing the Games of Identity Politics’

When House Republicans passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA, TrumpCare) Thursday, the argument could be made, at least watching House Republicans and Donald Trump, that the case had been settled: ObamaCare was gone, repealed and “replaced.” 

In reality, the only cases settled that day would be the cases of beer wheeled into the White House to celebrate the “victory” of attempting to strip an estimated 24 million Americans of their healthcare coverage.

The House’s so-called victory may be short-lived, however, considering that just hours after the bill’s passing, Senate Republicans signaled they’d write their own version.

And as Americans across the country shared their thoughts and concerns about the passing of Trumpcare in the House, the 13 Republicans responsible for drafting the Senate’s plan, all male, weren’t silent either.

Below, reactions from the 13 male Senators on the potential loss of healthcare for 24 million Americans, the cutting of Medicaid by $880 billion, and the placement of Americans with pre-existing conditions into high-risk, grossly underfunded pools that would cost them thousands more annually:

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Kentucky, elected until 2020)

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“Today’s vote in the House was an important step,” McConnell’s statement read. He further asserted that his constituents were now closer to “freedom” and congratulated Paul Ryan, Donald Trump and Mike Pence by name “for a job well done.”

John Cornyn (Texas, elected until 2020)

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“Today is an important step in upholding our promise to give the American people relief,” Cornyn’s statement echoed McConnell’s. “Working alongside the Administration… will continue to be our top priority and [Trumpcare] sets us on a course to achieve that.”

John Thune (South Dakota, elected until 2022)

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Thune called it a “critical step in delivering relief for the American people” in his statement, because “Americans deserve better.” He further asserted that he looks forward to working with his colleagues on the matter.

John Barrasso (Wyoming, Elected Until 2018)

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While Barrasso released no official statement, in a statement on ObamaCare and previous efforts to repeal and replace it, he said that “American people are asking for our help.” He cited Ronald Reagan, who said ‘it’s better to get 80 percent of what you want rather than go over the cliff with a flag flying.’”

Lamar Alexander (Tennessee, Elected Until 2020)

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Alexander congratulated the House’s passage of the bill, but was more cautious in his statement, advising the Senate “will take the time to get it right.” His goals moving forward include “rescuing” his constituents from ObamaCare.

Mike Enzi (Wyoming, Elected Until 2020)

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Enzi appears to have made no official statement, but may be attempting to stay out of the spotlight after his homophobic remarks to school-aged children.

Orrin Hatch (Utah, Elected Until 2018)

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Hatch seemingly made no official statement, but told Politico “it’s close to near-impossible, except we’ll get it done.” He further insisted that he’s “been at near-impossible a couple of times” and “always gets it done.”

Ted Cruz (Texas, Elected Until 2018)

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Cruz said the bill was “an important step,” and found it encouraging that the House could “come together.” He praised the House Freedom Caucus for “[pressing] hard [to] reduce premiums.”

Mike Lee (Utah, Elected Until 2022)

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Lee made no official statement on the bill’s passing, but of the House’s first and failed attempt at passing TrumpCare, he called for ObamaCare to be “properly sent to the dustbin of history.”

Tom Cotton (Arkansas, Elected Until 2020)

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Cotton also refrained from an official statement, but didn’t support the House’s last attempt. Ahead of the previous and failed version, he urged his “friends in the House of Representatives… ‘Do not walk the plank and vote for a bill that cannot pass the Senate and then have to face the consequences of that vote.’”

Cory Gardner (Colorado, Elected Until 2020)

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Gardner said he looks “forward to working with [his] colleagues” on the matter, but no official statement was made.

Rob Portman (Ohio, Elected Until 2022)

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Portman’s statement advised that he has “already made clear that [he] doesn’t support the House bill as currently constructed.” He further asserted that while “Congress must take responsible action,” that “changes must be made that [do] not leave people behind.”

Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania, Elected Until 2022)

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“The House bill is merely the first legislative step,” Toomey said, but released no official statement.

“We have no interest in playing the games of identity politics,” a Republican aide said of the criticism that the 13 Senators were all men. (There are five female senators amongst the 52 Republicans in the Senate.)

“To reduce this to gender, race or geography misses the more important point,” the aide insisted.

 

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OPINION

Critics: Where’s Trump’s Hour-Long Press Conference With Policy Questions from Reporters?

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Following President Joe Biden’s 58-minute long unscripted, solo press conference without a teleprompter, fielding questions from reporters and responding with nuance and depth on a range of issues including foreign and domestic policy, some critics are calling on his opponent, ex-president Donald Trump, to do the same.

It’s been a long time since Trump has held an actual unscripted, lengthy, solo press conference, with questions from reporters, and well-over a year since he did one that wasn’t centered on his legal crises.

“When is last time Trump did an hour long press conference? Anyone know?” asked Bloomberg News’ Steven Dennis Thursday night after the President’s press conference.

“So now the media will demand that Trump hold an hour-long press conference on complex foreign policy issues — right?” snarked attorney and legal commentator Tristan Snell, who headed the successful New York State civil prosecution of Trump University.

READ MORE: ‘Dead Heat’: Biden Ahead or Tied With Trump in Two New Post-Debate Polls

“Trump is getting a free pass just like he did in 2016. No way he could do a press conference for 40 minutes after 3 long days with world leaders. He is incoherent most of time when he’s not spewing bile,” declared CNN Political Commentator Karen Finney Friday morning.

“It’s now time for the corporate media to dissect every word Trump says for the next two weeks, have debates on his mental state, amplify the small number of Republicans who want Trump to drop out and demand he hold a press conference where we can dissect him even more,” remarked attorney and SiriusXM host Dean Obeidallah Friday morning.

“Per CSPAN last time Trump held a press conference that approached an hour in length at which he took questions from reporters, he was still president,” observed Aaron Fritschner, Deputy Chief of Staff for U.S. Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) Friday morning.

READ MORE: ‘Betrayal’: Trump Hosts ‘Russian Puppet’ Viktor Orbán as Biden Hosts NATO Leaders

He adds, “Per the CSPAN archive, the last time Donald Trump took questions from reporters in a press conference was on February 8th. National and campaign reporters made an issue of the lack of press conferences with Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. To date, they have not done so with Trump.”

On November 8, 2022, from Mar-a-Lago, after polls closed, Donald Trump delivered remarks discussing the midterm elections. He spoke for about four minutes to supporters and took no questions from reporters, whom he mocked. (Full C-SPAN video.)

Semafor’s David Weigel argues, “A lot of the ‘whatabout Trump’ stuff is cope, but he really is getting an easy ride with interviewers compared to 2016 or 2020.”

“Most of his interviews are softball-fests. When he did All-In the campaign had to clean up his green card/diploma answer.”

READ MORE: ‘No Change’: Biden Debate Performance Has Had ‘Almost No Impact’ on 2024 Race Report Finds

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News

‘Segregated?’: Republican Ridiculed for Call to Return to ‘Where America Was in the 1960s’

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A Republican U.S. Congressman is being criticized for his remarks calling for a return to the 1960’s, a direct attack on federal government social safety programs like welfare and food stamps.

Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI), who has spent a decade in the House often fighting against those programs, lamented that “every year of course, I am lobbied by people who want the government … to take up an even greater role in their children’s life, be it daycare, be it preschool, be it after school programs, whatever. They clearly want the children raised by the government. So I hope the press corps picks up on this, and I hope Republican and Democratic leadership put together some sort of plan for January in which we work our way back to where America was in the 1960s.”

RELATED: Republican Complaining It’s ‘Almost Impossible’ for Straight ‘White Guys’ to Get Appointed by Biden Has History of Bigotry

“We now have the TANF program which gives cash benefits to people,” Grothman continued. “Indeed there are over 70 government programs in which your benefits are based on percent of poverty, which is to say, you get benefits if either you if you are not working hard or and if you are not married to a spouse who is working hard because as soon as you have one person who’s working kind of hard, they’re going to make enough money. They’re not eligible for all these programs. So, when you consider the powerful forces who wanted to get rid of the family, perhaps this is not a coincidence.”

This is not the first time Rep. Grothman has attacked critical social safety net programs.

Last month, in an interview littered with racist, misogynistic, and xenophobic remarks, claiming progressives, social justice movements, and the government for decades have wanted to destroy the family unit, he blamed the federal government for “bribing” low-income women with welfare to prevent them from marrying.

The 1960’s were plagued by racial segregation, discrimination, inequality, police brutality, the Vietnam War, anti-war protests, resistance to the draft, pollution, civil unrest, and political assassinations.

READ MORE: ‘Betrayal’: Trump Hosts ‘Russian Puppet’ Viktor Orbán as Biden Hosts NATO Leaders

Critics slammed Grothman Thursday. One, national security attorney Brad Moss, responding to the Republican’s desire to return to the 1960s, asking: “Segregated? Watching presidents and major political figures be assassinated?”

Others mentioned Project 2025, suggesting it is the vehicle Republicans plan on using to reach Grothman’s desired goal.

Watch the clips below or at this link.

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News

‘Betrayal’: Trump Hosts ‘Russian Puppet’ Viktor Orbán as Biden Hosts NATO Leaders

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President Joe Biden this week has been hosting the leaders of the 32 nations that form the 75-year old alliance known as NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and at 6:30 PM ET the leader of the free world will hold an unscripted, “high stakes” press conference with reporters to detail their progress (video below). Also Thursday evening, ex-president Donald Trump, the convicted felon who remains out on bail and is still facing 54 criminal counts, will reportedly host the authoritarian Christian nationalist prime minister of Hungary, Viktor Orbán, at Mar-a-Lago.

President Biden’s remarks will be televised nationwide. Donald Trump’s meeting will not.

Trump’s meeting with Orbán comes just one week after the far-right autocrat, branded a “neo-fascist dictator” back in 2014 by the late Republican U.S. Senator John McCain, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow, and just days after Orbán met with China’s President Xi Jinping, reportedly on a “peace mission” for the Russian war against Ukraine.

Thursday will be Trump’s second meeting this year with Orbán.

Critics have been sound alarms.

“Fresh from visiting Xi in China and Putin in Moscow, Viktor Orban will apparently complete his pilgrimage by showing up at Mar-a-Lago today,” observed The Bulwark’s Bill Kristol.

“Trump meeting Orban opposite NATO Summit immediately following Orban mtg w Putin and Xi is the sort of betrayal of the US that would’ve led to Congressional investigations or worse in the past,” observed noted foreign policy, national security, and political affairs analyst and author David Rothkopf.

Russian propagandists have been claiming Orban is acting as an intermediary, delivering messages from Putin to Trump and vice versa,” wrote Daily Beast columnist Julia Davis, creator of the Russian Media Monitor.

“U.S. Ambassador to Hungary David Pressman lashed out at Orbán recently, saying that no other U.S. ally has so ‘overtly and tirelessly’ campaigned for the Republican candidate,” Politico reports. “This week, Orbán praised Trump in an interview with Axel Springer media outlets, which owns POLITICO, as ‘the man of peace,’ and he predicted there is a ‘very, very high chance’ Biden will not win the U.S. election.”

READ MORE: ‘Dangerous’ and ‘Unfit’: NY Times Calls on Republicans to Reject Trump Ahead of Convention

Russia, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe expert Olga Lautman, a non-resident senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) also issued a warning:

“As NATO holds its summit Russian media reports that Russian puppet Orban may share info he collected from Russia & China of terrorist Russia’s nonstarter plan for Ukraine w Trump. Pay attention to Orban’s moves while he is in U.S. especially with Heritage Foundation and Trump’s people.”

The Heritage Foundation is the major entity behind the multi-million dollar Project 2025.

Lautman also pointed to a March post she wrote: “Newly emerged evidence shows how Hungary and Russia worked together during the 2020 Slovak elections to help the Slovak government stay in power, Orban acted as a middleman. Take note America,” she warned.

Also issuing warnings is former CIA analyst Gail Helt.

Responding to another Politico report that “Donald Trump is considering a reduction in intelligence sharing with members of NATO, which depends on the U.S. for the type of information that has helped Ukraine fend off Russia,” Helt wrote: “Oh dear God.”

READ MORE: ‘Dead Heat’: Biden Ahead or Tied With Trump in Two New Post-Debate Polls

“I walk my students through some ‘what if’ exercises in my intro to Intel analysis class,” she wrote Wednesday night, “this will make a great case study: what if an American president wanted to ally with Russia without the American people knowing? What would that look like? What would we see? What could he do?”

“This,” she continued. “He could do this. Curtailing Intel sharing with NATO hands the continent to Russia. He’s not trying to make America great. He’s will make Russia great and erode US standing in the world. We have to ask why. Don’t let him do it.”

You can watch Biden’s 6:30 PM ET press conference live below or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘No Change’: Biden Debate Performance Has Had ‘Almost No Impact’ on 2024 Race Report Finds

 

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