Trump’s Health Care Book Full Of Everything But A Health Care Plan
When Donald Trump walked out of a 60 Minutes interview, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted a photo of the interviewer, Lesley Stahl, holding a massive book — supposed evidence that the president has done a lot to advance health care for the nation. Since then, the Trump administration has been forced to defend the contents, or lack thereof.
After McEnany’s tweet, Donald Trump followed up with one of his own, with more images. Unfortunately, these included a shot of the Stahl with the book open to what appears to be a blank page, driving the obvious conclusion that the book was just a prop. The Trump Administration has responded to this criticism, assuring the public that the book wasn’t empty at all. However, the release of the 60 Minutes episode caught McEnany’s misdirection — while it isn’t an entirely blank book, it doesn’t contain a plan for advancing health care access for Americans.
On Tuesday, after the interview, McEnany tweeted a shot of Stahl holding the book, with commentary that suggested the interviewer was impressed.
Handing Lesley Stahl just a small part of what President @realDonaldTrump has done for healthcare in the United States.
She couldn’t believe how HUGE it was and said, “I can hardly lift this‼️” pic.twitter.com/RSWrzKo1or
— Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) October 20, 2020
Trump followed this up on Wednesday, saying “Lesley had no idea!” as though to imply that she had learned, through this tome, that the administration had actually done much more than was publicly recognized.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 21, 2020
However, one of these shots got a little more attention than perhaps intended — it gave the appearance of a con job, with the book opened to show an apparently blank page.
McEnany quickly defended this in another tweet, declaring that the book isn’t blank. She listed its contents.
- 512 pages
- 13 executive orders
- 11 pieces of healthcare legislation
- PLUS an America First Healthcare Plan from President Donald Trump!
The first obvious thing to notice here is that “512 pages” is an odd thing to list as evidence that the book isn’t blank, since nothing in “512 pages” suggests that all, or any, of those pages have anything printed on them. It’s just an additional thing to list.
She goes on to suggest the book contains a total of 25 documents, excluding the purported healthcare plan — a handful of executive orders and pieces of legislation.
However, in the 60 Minutes episode, Stahl is very clear about the actual contents of the book — executive orders, yes, and proposed legislation (it’s not clear whether these are items that were ever passed or even voted on), but no actual healthcare plan. It should be noted here that in tweets, McEnany and Trump primarily characterize the book as containing the president’s accomplishments on health care, but in handing it over, she tells Stahl that it is the president’s health care plan.
President Trump’s press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, gave us a heavy book that she described as the president’s health care plan. It was filled with executive orders and congressional initiatives, but no comprehensive healthcare plan. https://t.co/Mn6HRAOwHL pic.twitter.com/WmsoRQP2WJ
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) October 26, 2020
Of course, this leaves voters to decide who they trust — McEnany says that there’s a health care plan in that book, and Stahl says there isn’t.
Or, they can rely on the president’s own words. As it happens, Donald Trump settles this quite publicly at the presidential debate two days after the interview, when he declared that he’d like to come up with a new health care plan. “I’d like to terminate Obamacare, come up with a brand new beautiful health care….”
If there was truly a comprehensive health care plan, nicely bound in a book on October 20th, why would the president say on the 22nd that he still needed to come up with a plan?