Donald Trump has spent literally years telling Americans he has a terrific health care plan, which will deliver better results at a lower cost, that's nearly ready for its release. At a town-hall event on Tuesday, the president went so far as to boast, "I have it all ready. I have it all ready.... I have it all ready."
But there's still no plan, no blueprint, no outline, no bill, and no reason to believe anything the Republican has to say on the subject.
At a Capitol Hill hearing yesterday, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) asked several leading Trump administration officials, each of whom work directly in the health care field, whether they had any idea what the White House's health care plan entails. Federal testing czar Brett Giroir, Robert Kadlec, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at HHS, and CDC Director Robert Redfield all answered the same way: they had no idea.
Soon after, during a press briefing, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany fielded some questions about this elusive plan and who's working on its creation. The former Trump campaign aide didn't seem to appreciate the line of inquiry.
"I'm not going to give you a readout of what our healthcare plan looks like and who's working on it. If you want to know, come work here at the White House.... As I told you, our Domestic Policy Council and others in the White House are working on a healthcare plan, the President's vision for the next five years -- and if you want more, come join us here."
Part of the problem with such a posture is that journalists aren't the only ones who want to know about Trump's secret health care plan. There's an election coming up, and millions of American families need to know what kind of health security -- or lack thereof -- they'll have in the coming years.
They can't all get jobs in the White House, just to understand what the president's secret plan may or may not entail.
But the other part of the problem is that McEnany and Team Trump may be losing sight of why White House press briefings exist.
Decades ago, the White House fielded the same questions from different reporters about basic daily developments: What's the president's opinion about x? What does the president intend to do about y? Is the president prepared to support z? And so on.
In the interest of expediency, the press briefing was born: reporters could all get answers to similar questions at the same time.
In 2020, however, press briefings are ... different. Kayleigh McEnany introduces propaganda videos. She calls on representatives of fringe websites to ask politically satisfying "questions." She heckles actual journalists. She shows a clip of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a hair salon -- and plays in a loop, over and over again.
But ask the president's principal spokesperson a question about health care policy, and the answer is simple: those seeking meaningful answers should "come work here at the White House."
ABC News' Jonathan Karl, a former president of the White House Correspondents' Association, recently made the case that White House press secretaries should hold regular briefings, "but not like this."