President Donald Trump, the self-styled “Dealmaker-in-Chief,” was unable to negotiate a deal Friday to pass his first major piece of legislation, a replacement of Obamacare.
No matter how the White House chooses to spin the cancellation of a scheduled House vote Friday, the collapse of the health care bill dealt a major blow to a narrative that Trump has based his entire career on, in both business and politics: that he’s a dealmaker, and when the rubber hits the road, Trump can get to yes.
During the 2016 Republican primary campaign, Trump touted his dealmaking skills as a way to distance himself from what he called “crazy zealots,” like rival Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. “We’ve got to have somebody who’s going to stand up and make deals,” he told Cruz during a February debate.
As the campaign wore on, Trump explained away his decades of political donations to Democrats by telling voters, “No one knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.”
He also repeatedly dismissed and derided the work of former President Barack Obama’s diplomats and trade negotiators, suggesting he could have made much better deals than they did.
The myth of Trump the dealmaker has taken the president from a small real estate office in Queens to the White House.
But less than 100 days into his administration, the fable of Trump’s career and the reality of governing have already collided.