President Donald Trump has privately referred to the House Republicans' health care bill as "mean," despite previously hailing it as a superior alternative to the Affordable Care Act.
The comment came during a White House lunch with 15 Republican senators on Tuesday, according to a report by the Associated Press. In addition to referring to the House bill as "mean," Trump told the senators that he wanted them to pass a version that was "more generous" or, according to a different source, "more generous, more kind." The senators present included moderates like Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska as well as conservatives like Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah, according to Politico.
All of the sources indicate that Trump did not say what precisely he was characterizing as "mean" from the House bill. According to The New York Times, he also encouraged the Senate Republicans to "come out with a bill that’s going to be a phenomenal bill for the people of our country: generous, kind, with heart. That’s what I’m saying. And that may be adding additional money into it."
The Times also points out that Trump had previously referred to the House bill as a "great plan" and as "very, very incredibly well-crafted."
Republican Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, who chairs the conservative House Freedom Caucus, told the Associated Press that "I have no knowledge of the president characterizing the health care bill in any other way than to suggest that we need to lower premiums," as well as protect individuals with pre-existing conditions.
Similarly, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan said that "Congressional Republicans, with President Trump's support, are working to repeal and replace this terrible Obamacare law that is harming Americans."
Not surprisingly, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also took the opportunity to state on Twitter that the bill "is not only 'mean,' but a moral monstrosity. The Senate bill is just as cruel." The bill itself is being written in secrecy, according to a report by Bloomberg.