Trump blames Democrats for GOP health care bill failure, says Obama Care is ‘imploding’

President Trump said Friday the White House “learned a lot about loyalty and the vote-getting process” following the dramatic failure of a Republican-backed bill that would have made good on a campaign promise to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

Trump said House Republicans were 10 to 15 votes shy of getting the bill passed and blamed the defeat on Democrats. House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill minutes before a vote was to take place as it became apparent there was not enough support for passage. Democrats were united against it, and a conservative bloc of Republicans were unmoved by 11th-hour negotiations.

“We had no Democratic support,” Trump said from the Oval Office. “They weren’t going to give us a single vote.”

The president added that the “best thing we can do, politically speaking, is let ObamaCare explode. It’s exploding right now… Almost all states have big problems.”

Trump claimed he never said he would “repeal and replace [ObamaCare] within 64 days,” though he repeatedly promised during the campaign he’d do it on Day One.

Ryan, R-Wis., withdrew the legislation after Trump called and asked him to halt debate without a vote.

“We came really close today but we came up short,” Ryan said. He added that Friday’s developments were “not the end of the story” though he immediately pivoted to other items on the GOP agenda, including tax reform.

“We have big, ambitious plans to improve people’s lives,” he said.

Ryan made the walk to the White House shortly after noon to tell the president he lacked the votes to push the bill through. Friday marks the seventh anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act by former President Barack Obama.

The GOP bill would have replaced ObamaCare, which mandated that almost every American have health insurance.

“This was a rejection of the repeal of the Affordable Care Act,” Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez said in a written statement. “In the words of my friend Joe Biden: This is a BFD.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called the failed GOP health care bill a “victory for the American people.”

Republicans have spent seven years campaigning against Obama’s signature health care law, and cast dozens of votes to repeal it in full or in part. But when they finally got the chance to pass a repeal bill that actually had a chance to get signed, they couldn’t pull it off.

What happens next is unclear, but the path ahead on other priorities, such as overhauling the tax code, could grow more daunting.

The development came on the afternoon of a day when the bill, which had been delayed a day earlier, was supposed to come to a vote, come what may. President Trump’s top aides had told Ryan to call a vote – and possibly call the bluff of balky Republicans in the House Freedom Caucus.

But instead of picking up support as Friday wore on, the bill went the other direction, with some key lawmakers coming out in opposition.

Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, said the bill would raise costs unacceptably on his constituents. Rep. Barbara Comstock of Virginia, a key moderate Republican, and GOP Rep. David Joyce of Ohio also announced “no” votes.

The defections raised the possibility that the bill would not only lose on the floor, but lose big.

In the face of that evidence, and despite insistence from White House officials and Ryan that Friday was the day to vote, leadership pulled back from the brink.

The GOP bill would have eliminated the Obama statute’s unpopular fines on people who do not obtain coverage and would also have removed the often-generous subsidies for those who purchase insurance.

Republican tax credits would have been based on age, not income like Obama’s, and the tax boosts Obama imposed on higher-earning people and health care companies would have been repealed. The bill would have ended Obama’s Medicaid expansion and trimmed future federal financing for the federal-state program, letting states impose work requirements on some of the 70 million beneficiaries.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the Republican bill would have resulted in 24 million additional uninsured people in a decade and lead to higher out-of-pocket medical costs for many lower-income and people just shy of age 65 when they would become eligible for Medicare. The bill would have blocked federal payments for a year to Planned Parenthood.

Mattis withdraws Pentagon pick seen as Muslim Brotherhood supporter

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has withdrawn his nominee for the Pentagon’s top civilian job after opposition from lawmakers concerned about her close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

A senior official confirmed to Fox News that Mattis pulled the nomination of former Ambassador Anne Patterson to be undersecretary of defense for policy. The move was first reported by the Washington Post.

Patterson was U.S. ambassador to Egypt between 2011 and 2013, when that country’s president, Mohamed Morsi, was overthrown by the military. Critics opposed her selection by Mattis on the grounds that she was too accommodating to Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood during her tenure in Cairo.

The Muslim Brotherhood was formed in Egypt in the 1920s with the stated goal of establishing a worldwide Islamic caliphate, or empire, ruled under Sharia law. Egypt declared it a terror group in 2013 after the government blamed it for a bombing of a police headquarters that killed 16, even though the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood denied involvement and condemned the attack.

The Post reported that Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, were particularly opposed to Patterson’s nomination. Both men serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Cruz has recently reintroduced legislation calling on the State Department to designate the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.

A congressional source told Fox News that Cotton’s opposition was largely due to Patterson’s lack of experience at the Defense Department. The source said Cotton was given no assurance that Patterson knew how to strategic defense plans that commanders would have to implement.

Patterson previously served as U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Colombia, El Salvador and the United Nations. She recently retired after serving as the State Department’s assistant secretary for near eastern affairs.

Nearly two months into the Trump administration, Mattis is the only political appointee at the Pentagon. The Post reported that the White House would announce a list of nominees for senior Defense Department positions sometime this week.