With the fate of the House Republican health-care legislation hanging in the balance Thursday, President Trump turned to a group of truckers for help with moving the bill along.
Trump welcomed drivers and executives from the American Trucking Association to the White House with a little stagecraft.
As he greeted them, two large trucks were parked in front of the White House. After shaking hands of ATA members positioned in front of the trucks, the president hopped into the rig of one of the 18-wheelers and tooted the horn a couple of times, then closed the door and waved to the news media through the window.
“Obamacare has inflicted great pain on American truckers,” Trump later told the group in the Cabinet room. “Many of you were forced to buy health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges. You experienced a crippling rise in premiums and a dramatic loss in options. And you just take a look at what's happened to the costs, and it's incredible.”
As Trump spoke, word was spreading that a House vote scheduled Thursday night on the Trump-backed overhaul of the Affordable Care Act would be postponed. The president didn’t not respond to questions about the development but said he remains optimistic about what he expects will be a close vote.
At several points during the truckers’ visit, Trump noted that he should probably get back to his lobbying efforts. He met earlier Thursday with a group of conservative House members and was set to meet later in the afternoon with moderate House members.
“I'm not going to make it too long, because I have to get votes,” Trump said to laughter. “I don't want to spend too much time with you. I'm going to lose by one vote and then I'm going to blame the truckers.”
After the meeting, the truckers appeared before the press and reiterated their support for Trump’s efforts.
“We’re here to support the administration,” said Chris Spear, president and chief executive officer of the ATA. “We’re very happy with the bill as proposed.”