Failed healthcare Bill: Trump backers spare him the blame

Trump supporters breaking through a human wall of anti-Trump protesters during a rally in Huntington Beach, California, last Saturday. Support for Mr Trump appeared unflagging despite the collapse of his campaign promise to overhaul the healthcare sy
Trump supporters breaking through a human wall of anti-Trump protesters during a rally in Huntington Beach, California, last Saturday. Support for Mr Trump appeared unflagging despite the collapse of his campaign promise to overhaul the healthcare system.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

They fault Republican party leaders, conservatives and Democrats, and continue to support President

NEW PORT RICHEY (Florida) • After the flaming out of US President Donald Trump's first major legislative initiative, his supporters across America were lashing out - at conservatives, at Democrats, at leaders of his Republican Party in Congress.

Only Mr Trump himself was spared their wrath.

Many voters who elected him appeared largely willing to give him a pass on the collapse of his campaign promise to overhaul the US healthcare system, stressing his short time in office.

"Being a businessman, he'll not take 'no' for an answer," said Mr Tony Nappi, a 71-year-old from Trinity, Florida, one of the many disappointed Republicans. "He'll get the job done."

Support for Mr Trump appeared unflagging, from the playing fields of a Republican stronghold in central Florida and the small-town diners of North Carolina, to the suburbs of Arkansas and the streets of working-class Staten Island in New York City.

FAITH IN TRUMP

Being a businessman, he'll not take 'no' for an answer.

MR TONY NAPPI, a 71-year-old from Trinity, Florida, on Mr Trump's failed healthcare Bill.

Rebellion among members of his own party sealed the failure of Mr Trump's effort to repeal and replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act - known as Obamacare - the signature domestic policy achievement of Democratic former president Barack Obama.

Despite casting himself on the campaign trail as "the best dealmaker there is", Mr Trump could not save the healthcare Bill from being yanked by Republican leaders in the House of Representatives last Friday, in an embarrassing turn of events for them and him.

Objections among Republican moderates and the party's most conservative lawmakers left leaders short of the votes needed for passage, with Democrats unified in opposition.

"He can't wave a magic wand," said Ms Ramona Bourdo, 70, a retired nurse, eating breakfast at a McDonald's in suburban Little Rock, Arkansas. "I've not lost confidence in him."

Still, a barista at the Grind Cafe in Morganton, North Carolina, who cannot afford his own insurance and remains on his parents' plan, felt Mr Trump shared responsibility in the debacle.

"I think it's partially his fault," said Mr Joel Martin, a 21-year-old Republican and Trump supporter. "I don't think he has enough personal knowledge to do what he needs to do to get a healthcare Bill through Congress."

His home town, population 17,000, sits within the congressional district of Representative Mark Meadows, a North Carolina Republican whose opposition as the head of the conservative House Freedom Caucus helped sink the Bill.

Sharing in the frustration of loyal Republicans was 82-year-old Jeanette Madison, a registered independent in the New York City borough of Staten Island, who voted for Mr Trump.

"I blame the Democrats and Republicans in Congress... I'm just fed up," she said as she walked her dog down a city street.

In Florida's Pasco County, where Mr Trump's stronger-than-expected showing helped to seal his victory in the largest US battleground state, some fans seized on the silver lining.

Neighbours Patti Niehaus, a Democrat, and Margie Hahne, a Republican, agreed that Mr Trump may have needed the crash course in governing, having never before held elected office.

"You can't just go and tell people what to do like he's used to doing," said Ms Hahne, 74. "Trump's got to learn a lot."

REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 27, 2017, with the headline 'Failed healthcare Bill: Trump backers spare him the blame'. Print Edition | Subscribe