AP NEWS

Trump tells Republicans to embrace health care in 2020 race

April 3, 2019
President Donald Trump arrives to speak at the National Republican Congressional Committee's annual spring dinner in Washington, April 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump told House Republicans on Tuesday that they need to embrace health care reform and make it the first thing they vote on following the 2020 election.

Speaking at an annual fundraiser for the National Republican Congressional Committee, Trump told GOP lawmakers and supporters they have the advantage on a variety of issues, but conceded that Democrats have the advantage on health care.

“We have to take that away from them,” Trump said.

“Republicans should not run away from health care,” he added. “You can’t do it. You’re going to get clobbered.”

He told the GOP House members: “You are the minority, I hate to say. That’s not going to last long.” Democrats hold a 235-197 majority in the House with three vacancies.

The Democrats found success in 2018 by attracting support from women, minorities and college-educated voters, particularly in suburban districts. Many wanted a check on the president. That success filtered down to state and local races, with Democrats flipping hundreds of seats in state legislatures and picking up seven governorships.

To turn that momentum, Trump is focusing on the economy and casting Democrats as outside the mainstream in their support for policies such as “Medicare for all” and the “Green New Deal” to combat climate change.

“If they beat me with the Green New Deal, I deserve to lose,” he said.

The buzzword for Republicans is “socialism,” and Trump turned to it on several occasions Tuesday night.

Still, he said some of the Democrats’ proposals could prove enticing to votes in the short term. He said free health care sounds very seductive.

“Don’t underestimate the power of socialism to get a vote,” Trump said.