Iran is failing to live up to the “spirit” of the nuclear deal struck in 2015, President Donald Trump said Thursday, warning that his administration is debating whether or not to leave the landmark pact.
Trump, in a news conference with the visiting Italian premier, didn’t telegraph whether he would ultimately decide to keep the U.S. in the deal or not, though he called it “terrible agreement” that was poorly negotiated. His comments came the same week that his administration certified to Congress than Iran is complying – at least technically — with the terms of the deal.
“They are not living up to the spirit of the agreement, I can tell you that,” Trump said.
Maybe I’m biased, but it seems pretty obvious that Trump doesn’t know what the deal actually says, and doesn’t know how he thinks Iran is violating it. Does he even know what he means by “the spirit of the agreement”? I doubt it.
* Adam Cancryn and Josh Dawsey report that the White House is taking careful aim at its own foot on health care:
A frantic and impatient White House is pressuring House GOP leaders for another showdown vote on repealing Obamacare next week so it can notch a legislative win before President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office.
But while the outlines of a possible deal are starting to come together, it’s far from clear that House Republican leaders have found the sweet spot to pass their embattled alternative health plan.
The White House does not schedule House floor votes. And while some senior administration officials suggested Thursday that a vote will occur next week, multiple House GOP sources told POLITICO that is unlikely.
Indeed, the vote is not currently on the calendar. Nor do Republican insiders think it’s even possible, as Congress will reconvene Tuesday after a two-week Easter recess. That would leave them with one day to whip votes — an unlikely time frame for such a heavy legislative lift.
Sure, let’s try to remake one-sixth of the American economy in the space of a couple of days, in order to meet a ludicrous arbitrary deadline to make the president look better. What could go wrong?
* The new GOP health plan would effectively gut protection for those with pre-existing conditions, turning to high-risk pools as a backstop, but that would require hundreds of billions of dollars in funding. Here’s what the head of the Freedom Caucus thinks about it:
When I asked Meadows (pre-recess) how much he's willing to spend on high-risk pools he jokingly pulled out his wallet and counted the bills.
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) April 20, 2017
Good one! Except in reality under the GOP plan premiums may rise so much for a lot of sick people that they could get pushed off coverage, and high risk pools won’t bail them out.
* Gallup reports that Trump’s average first-quarter job approval rating is 41 percent, the worst in modern history by a substantial margin. By way of comparison, Barack Obama’s first-quarter approval was 63 percent.
* Brian Beutler examines what the Democrats will have to do to heal their rifts.
* A must-read from Jacob Levy: While commentators claim Trump is growing more “conventional,” in reality, he’s doubling down on the xenophobia, bigotry, authoritarianism, nepotism, and serial shredding of democratic norms. Otherwise, yeah, Trump is mellowing. — gs
* Robert Schlesinger marvels at the White House’s new strategy: to use the government shutdown deadline as leverage to get more things that Democrats are refusing to give them. Why would Democrats make more concessions that cut against their values to avert an outcome that the White House and Republicans will be blamed for? — gs
* Dem strategist Simon Rosenberg suggests three things Democrats should demand from Trump in exchange for their cooperation on matters like passing a budget.
* And McKay Coppins suggests that not only might Jason Chaffetz not finish out his term, he could wind up with a sweet Fox News gig soon.