As the majority of President Donald Trump’s most famous aides — Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner and Kellyanne Conway — get to work on other priorities, other White House staffers are privately worried that after the Senate GOP failed to repeal and replace Obamacare, nothing will get done.
According to aides who spoke to Politico, the tumultuous back-and-forth about the Republican healthcare plan has induced anxiety.
“The real fear is that this is where everything starts to unravel,” one aide told Politico on condition of anonymity. “It makes things harder for the debt ceiling and it makes tax reform way harder. People are saying, ‘oh my god, if we couldn’t come together on repeal and replace, how are we possibly going to do tax reform?’”
On Capitol Hill, that worry is less about not moving forward in general and more about the White House’s apparent Obamacare impasse.
“They’re looking at what are the wins they can get now: the border, or tax reform,” a Hill aide close to the White House told Politico. “If they have a plan to revive healthcare, I don’t know what it is.”
Despite Trump’s insistence that neither he nor the party will “own” Obamacare’s failure, privately, the finger has pointed firmly in the direction at party leadership — including at Chief of Staff Reince Preibus, who was infamously photographed hiding behind a trash can on Tuesday as he and Vice President Mike Pence took meetings on the Hill about the doomed bill.
“He pushed healthcare first,” one White House official told Politico of Priebus. “He owns the outcome.”