Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP
Just moments after Republicans scuttled their health care bill Friday, President Trump said Obamacare was “imploding and soon will explode,” and added that he never promised to quickly repeal it.
Trump discussed the failure of the Obamacare replacement — which was one of his signature issues on the campaign trail — during a news conference in the Oval Office. House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the health care bill Friday after failing to secure enough votes before a roll call.
“We couldn't quite get there,” Trump told reporters. “We were a small number of votes short. There are many people who don't realize how good our bill was.”
Though the failure was a major setback for Trump's early presidency, he said Friday's turn of events was “perhaps the best thing that could happen” because “we'll end up with a truly great healthcare bill in the future after this mess known as Obamacare explodes.”
Trump repeatedly described Obamacare as teetering on the edge of destruction, saying later that “it's imploding and soon will explode.”
“And it's not going to be pretty,” he added.
Trump also speculated that at some point, “Democrats will come to us and say let's get together and get a great health care bill,” adding that he did not feel betrayed by Republicans who refused to vote for the health care bill.
The president also pushed back against criticism regarding his time table.
“I never said repeal and replace it within 64 days,” he said. “I have a long time.”
However, Trump repeatedly talked about repealing and replacing Obamacare while campaigning last year. And in a tweet in February 2016, he promised to “immediately repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act.
But on Friday, Trump said he would “let Obamacare go its way for a little while. Then we'll see how things go.”