President Trump invited Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and his wife, Heidi, to dinner at the White House. Cruz is not only a former opponent of Trump’s, but he also spoke out against Trump’s candidacy during the Republican National Convention. So why did the president invite his one-time nemesis, also referred to as “Lyin’ Ted Cruz” by Trump during the election, to sit with him for a meal in the White House?
It seems that the new American Health Care Act (AHCA) bill has brought the two men together. Many conservative politicians and organizations have spoken out against the bill’s proposal. Trump is trying to use the resources he has to convince them that the new plan is the most beneficial way to implement new health care coverage to American citizens. Instead of trying to convince them all one-by-one, the president has decided to just talk to one of them and let the word spread. Who better to talk to than the one person who was so vocal in opposing the president throughout this past election? Enter Senator Cruz.
In May 2016, as Sen. Cruz’s primary candidacy was coming to a close, he thought it would be best to try and take Trump down with him. After seeing that Trump could possibly win a state that Cruz thought he was a ‘shoe-in’ to claim, he held a press conference to talk about his opponent.
“This man is a pathological liar, he doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies … in a pattern that is straight out of a psychology textbook, he accuses everyone of lying,” Cruz said as Indiana citizens headed to the voting booth. “Whatever lie he’s telling, at that minute he believes it … the man is utterly amoral,” he told reporters. “Donald is a bully … bullies don’t come from strength they come from weakness.”
The comments from Cruz’s aim at trying to dismantle Trump’s campaign ultimately cost him his own shot at the White House, but not before causing a stir within the Republican Party.
Trump responded to Cruz by insinuating the senator’s father was associated with Lee Harvey Oswald, President John F. Kennedy’s assassin, shortly before his murder. This statement pushed other Republican candidates to come to Cruz’s aid. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) defended Cruz in a series of tweets that really made no impact. What this response did was make it easier for Trump to secure the lead in the primaries while Cruz and his peers did damage control within their own campaigns.
At the Republican National Convention (RNC), Cruz took another chance at disrupting Trump’s campaign by refusing to endorse him as the party’s candidate.
, which was actually meant to secure a spot for himself in the 2020 race if Trump had lost to Hillary Clinton, Cruz urged delegates to “vote their conscience,” and not support Trump just because he was the party’s nominee. The speech backfired on Cruz, and got him barred from many of the RNC’s festivities after his words were spewed. This was yet another example that the ‘Trump Train’ could not be stopped, even by a rogue Republican senator from the largest red state.
Since the President took office, Sen. Cruz has laid low for the most part. When it came to healthcare, Cruz took a stand for his state’s citizens. The Texas senator spoke up about issues that affect his constituents. He even held a town hall debate with Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) to talk about what the Republican party wanted to achieve by repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Cruz has also expressed the need to fully repeal the ACA before instituting its replacement. The current bill, AHCA, doesn’t call for such a thing.
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), who has worked closely with Cruz, said the new bill misses a major point in not calling for a full repeal.
“This is not the Obamacare repeal bill we’ve been waiting for. It is a missed opportunity and a step in the wrong direction,” Lee said on Tuesday. “We promised the American people we would drain the swamp and end business as usual in Washington. This bill does not do that. We don’t know how many people would use this new tax credit, we don’t know how much it will cost, and we don’t know if this bill will make healthcare more affordable for Americans.” He continued, “This is exactly the type of back-room dealing and rushed process that we criticized Democrats for and it is not what we promised the American people.”
Prior to his dinner with Cruz, President Trump met with conservative organizations to discuss the bill further.included members of Club for Growth, the Heritage Foundation (and its political arm, Heritage Action), Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, and the Tea Party Patriots—all of which blasted the new White House-backed health-care bill as ‘Obamacare lite’ or not a full repeal of the current law.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the president is in ‘full sale’ mode with the new bill.
“It is a starting point. It’s going through regular order in the house and so part of that process is that it goes through the committee markup hearing both with ways and means and the house energy commerce committee. That by its very nature allows for input from both of those committees and then ultimately on the floor, before it moves over to the senate and the senate goes through a similar process,” said Spicer. “We’re proud of the input that we’ve received from governors, from senators, from individuals, association, companies, and we feel very proud of the work that is encapsulated in this bill and the results that it’ll yield. That being said, I think the president understands as a businessman that if someone’s got a really good idea then he’s going to listen to it and if he can be part of the process to help make something better, there’s nothing that’s going to preclude that, we have been very open to listening to people. We’re very proud of it, we’re going to go out, as I said, in full sail mode. But if there’s an idea that comes across, we’re going to entertain that to make it clear.”
So what happens now? Will Cruz take Trump’s advice and begin joining the party in an effort to pass the AHCA, or will Trump’s words fall on deaf ears? If the president can get Cruz on his side regarding AHCA, it could be a sign that the Trump Revolution is starting to pierce Congress. If that happens, there’s no stopping the president from ‘Making America Great Again.’
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