At a White House event yesterday, a reporter asked Donald Trump to comment on the Medicaid cuts in the Republican health care bill. "It's going to great," the president replied. "This will be great for everybody."
As a rule, "everybody" is a word Trump should probably avoid. He did, after all, promise Americans, "We're going to have insurance for everybody" -- which is a commitment he abandoned soon after taking office.
Nevertheless, Trump's clumsy comments yesterday about the underlying issue is part of a broader area of concern for Republicans. Their plan takes intends to gut Medicaid -- a popular program that covers more Americans than any other program -- by hundreds of billions of dollars. The GOP response so far has been to insist that Medicaid cuts aren't actually Medicaid cuts. As USA Today noted, Trump joined the chorus last night.
President Trump accused Democrats of lying about the projected Medicaid cuts in the Republican health care plan, but they didn't. They're just counting different things.
As Senate leadership struggles to find on a way forward for the controversial health care plan after coming up short of the votes it needed to pass before July 4 recess, Trump defended the proposal, tweeting that "Democrats purposely misstated Medicaid under new Senate bill - actually goes up."
Yes, this is the line Republicans have decided to stick to: it only looks like they're cutting Medicaid by hundreds of billions of dollars, but that's a ruse concocted by those rascally Democrats.
In reality, of course, it's not just Dems who've raised concerns about the Medicaid cuts; plenty of prominent Republicans, including Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.), have echoed the point.
But more importantly, a semantics debate about the meaning of the word "cut" is ridiculous, even by 2017 standards.