Monday evening saw President Donald Trump draw a crowd of around 35,000 to a national get-together of Boy Scouts, in West Virginia. Trump used the opportunity to slam his political opponents and press Republicans in the Senate to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
While Trump claimed he was happy to get out of Washington for a short period, away from the politics, he did take a few shots at Democrats, the media, and West Virginia Republican Senator Shelley Moore prior to the Senate’s vote on healthcare.
The president invited Tom Price, former Scout and Health and Human Services Secretary, on stage and cynically told him that he’d be dismissed if the Senate fails to move forward on the debate to repeal ObamaCare on Tuesday.
“He better get [the votes],” Trump said. “Otherwise I’ll say, ‘Tom, you’re fired!’ He better get Sen. Capito to vote for it. Better get the other senators to vote for it, it’s time.”
Capito is one of the many Republicans who have refused to vote to repeal ObamaCare until a sound replacement plan is in the works.
Trump later asked the Boy Scouts if former President Barack Obama ever attended their national gathering; the crowd could be heard booing at the mention of the former president.
For President Trump, the trip seemed to offer a short retreat from the heated politics of Washington, where his son-in-law Jared Kushner is currently the centre of focus in the Congressional investigation on Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential elections.
In addition to the long-running Russian investigation, the White House appears to be even more frustrated with the GOP-controlled Congress that has failed to deliver a significant legislative win for the president before the August recess begins. The GOP’s attempts to repeal and replace ObamaCare seem to be hopelessly stranded in the Senate.
However, at the Boy Scout gathering in West Virginia, Trump appeared to let go of his worries and enjoy the moment with the cheerful crowd. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, both former members of the scouts joined him on stage.
Trump even boasted about 10 members of his Cabinet being former scouts. He specifically mentioned Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has also served as president of the organization once.
“Tonight we put aside all of the policy fights in Washington, D.C. You’ve been hearing about with the fake news and all of that,” Trump said.
“You know, I go to Washington and I see all these politicians, and I see the swamp and it’s not a good place,” he continued. “In fact, today I said, we ought to change it from the word ‘swamp’ to the word ‘cesspool’ or perhaps to the word ‘sewer,’ but it’s not good. Not good. And I see what’s going on. And believe me, I’d much rather be with you.”
While President Trump’s approvals are at an all-time low nationally, he continues to remain popular in the deep red states that he carried in the elections last year.