Republicans Hope Trump Avoids Obamacare Mistakes In Tax Reform Push

Fresh off his high from watching the House pass Obamacare replacement legislation in May, President Trump invited all 248 Republicans in the lower chamber over to the White House for an impromptu Rose Garden celebration. “Premiums will be coming down. Deductibles will be coming down. But very importantly: It’s a great plan,” the president, surrounded by rank-and-file members, boomed from the podium.

Two months later, Trump told a roomful of GOP senators the House-passed bill was “mean.” It was a stunning reversal from what he had told Americans on that sunny afternoon in the Rose Garden, and the first of several missteps that many claim contributed to Republican’s ultimate failure on healthcare — and worry about a repeat on tax reform.

As the White House begins plotting an expensive campaign to sell tax reform to the public, some worry there’s only a “50-50 chance” Trump will triumph in his message discipline.

Minus the contradictory follow-up tweet, Trump used social media in a similar fashion last week to promise that Republicans will not make adjustments to 401(k) retirement savings plans. 

Some Trump allies praised the tweet, however, claiming it showed Trump possesses an acute understanding of how tax reform should be pitched to the public.

“What he is trying to do is sell it to the broadest group possible,” GOP strategist Ford O’Connell told the Washington Examiner. “What Republicans are going to have to do with tax reform is quash anybody who wants to spoil it. So, imagine if someone doesn’t know about 401(k) stuff, and they’re told, ‘Hey, Republicans are going to destroy your 401(k).’ That’s why he said that.”

The West Wing has also beefed up its communications team with temporary staffers who have been tasked with crafting talking points and highlighting positive developments related to tax reform, according to a source familiar with the hires.

For those new hires, and for the president himself, O’Connell had one messaging tip to offer based on past mistakes:

“The White House cleared a major hurdle when Congress passed the budget, but now they need to focus on building even more momentum. And they should be cautious about doing the old Irish jig on the White House lawn.”

Read more from Gabby Morongiello at the Washington Examiner

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