Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday that President Trump should abandon efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act after a Republican health care bill died in the U.S. Senate.
Christie, speaking on MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House” with host Nicolle Wallace, said there’s no will in Congress to overhaul the nation’s health care system and said Trump should move on to other issues such as tax reform and infrastructure upgrades.
“I’ve said that to the president for months,” said Christie, who usually declines to discuss the advice he gives the president. “I think they’ve shown that there’s no will in Congress for them to work with each other.”
Republicans vowed for years that they’d scrap the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, if they won the White House. But several versions of GOP health care legislation have fizzled out due to disagreements among Republicans. The latest attempt, from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), failed to get enough support in his caucus and was essentially dead as of Monday night when it became clear four Republican senators would oppose the bill.
Christie suggested it would likely be easier to garner support for infrastructure investments and tax reform, issues the governor described as “less partisan” than health care.
“I think you can find Democrats who will agree with you on infrastructure. I think you can find Democrats who will agree with you on aspects of tax reform,” Christie said. “And I think you should go ahead and try to do that.”
Unlike other Republican governors, Christie expanded Medicaid in New Jersey in 2013 under the Affordable Care Act. The Senate health bill would have scaled back that expansion and likely blown a hole in the state’s $34.6 billion budget. The extra Medicaid money has freed up billions of dollars for other state program over the last four years.
The governor spent most of the cable news interview defending Trump and his campaign over accusations of collusion with the Russian government. Christie said he was with Trump the same day the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., met with a Russian lawyer after being promised damaging information on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Then-candidate Trump didn’t mention the meeting, according to Christie.
“If this was anything he knew about — he’s not the holding-back type — he would have told me about it,” Christie said.
A day after he said accepting Russian opposition research would be inappropriate and “probably against the law,” Christie emphasized he didn’t see evidence a crime was committed. He chalked it all up to an inexperienced and not so savvy Don Jr. taking a meeting he shouldn’t have attended.
“I’m saying he’s not sophisticated about this stuff,” Christie said of Trump’s son.