A family practice provider uses a stethoscope to examine a patient in an exam room.
Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty

Trump takes gaslighting on health care in a weird direction


A few months ago, then-White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders not only defended Donald Trump’s health-care agenda, she insisted that the president has been “a hard-core advocate on protecting pre-existing conditions.”

As transparent lies go, this was brazen, even by 2019 standards. After all. Trump is currently in the process of trying to get the federal courts to tear down the entirety of the Affordable Care Act – including the protections in “Obamacare” for Americans with pre-existing conditions. The White House’s line was the exact opposite of the truth.

And yet, at his campaign rally in North Carolina last night, the president managed to take the gaslighting campaign in an even weirder direction.

“Patients with pre-existing conditions are protected by Republicans much more so than protected by Democrats, who will never be able to pull it off.”

Look, I realize Trump doesn’t know or care about health-care policy. Or his own administration’s agenda. Or current events. Or telling the truth. Or reality.

But Democrats already “pulled it off.” Americans with pre-existing conditions have protections right now. We know this to be true because the Affordable Care Act – the law the president is so desperate to destroy – currently exists.

The idea that these same Americans will enjoy “more” protections under a Republican alternative to the ACA certainly sounds great, but Trump and his GOP brethren had two years to present their ideas on the subject, and each of their plans left people with pre-existing conditions worse off – in some cases, vastly so.

There’s everyday nonsense, and then there’s head-spinning gaslighting. This clearly falls into the latter category.

Alas, if this sounds familiar, there’s a good reason. Shortly before the 2018 midterms, Trump declared, “Republicans will totally protect people with Pre-Existing Conditions. Democrats will not!”

As we discussed at the time, it was as brazen a lie as any Trump has told. He simply took reality, turned it on its head, and asked Americans to believe the opposite of reality.

Last night, the lie got a sequel.