Hello, failing New York Times? Donnie here.

Hmm. So Trump uses “failing” as his standard epithet for the New York Times, the way a poet might talk of Brave Achilles and Wily Odysseus – and yet when his health care repeal goes belly-up, he phones the Times for a chat.

Just moments after the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act was declared dead, President Trump sought to paint the defeat of his first legislative effort as an early-term blip.

The House speaker, Paul D. Ryan, was preparing to tell the public that the health care bill was being withdrawn — a byproduct, Mr. Trump said, of Democratic partisanship. The president predicted that Democrats would return to him to make a deal in roughly a year.

“Look, we got no Democratic votes. We got none, zero,” Mr. Trump said in a telephone interview he initiated with The New York Times.

He initiated it. He calls them the failing New York Times almost daily on Twitter, yet he calls them up to talk about his latest failure. He’s a funny guy.

Mr. Trump said that “when they come to make a deal,” he would be open and receptive. He singled out the Tuesday Group moderates for praise, calling them “terrific,” an implicit jab at the House Freedom Caucus, which his aides had expressed frustration with during negotiations.

Even so, he tried to minimize the deep divisions within his own party that prevented Mr. Ryan from securing passage of the bill, and maintained that they were six to 12 votes away from getting it across the finish line.

As Mr. Trump spoke, his voice was flatly calm and slightly hoarse, his manner subdued. He talked on a speaker phone from his desk in the Oval Office, with a coterie of aides drifting by. At one point, he welcomed his daughter Ivanka back from a ski trip.

He was missing those happy minutes spent in The Big Truck the day before. Those were the good times.

Mr. Trump described his first major legislative experience as not terribly different than what his previous negotiations as a real-estate developer had been like.

He emphatically did not fault Mr. Ryan.

“I don’t blame him for a thing, I really don’t,” Mr. Trump said. He added: “Even during the midst of negotiations I said the best thing that could happen was just to back off. I said, I’ll do it now because I’m a team player.” He said that Mr. Ryan did not apologize to him, adding: “Look, he tried. He tried very hard.”

“I’m not disappointed,” he insisted. “If I were, I wouldn’t be calling you.”


God what a weirdo.

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