White House claims Trump was 'being sarcastic' when he thanked Putin for expelling American diplomats
The White House on Friday insisted that President Trump wasn't actually being serious when he thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for expelling hundreds of American diplomats from Russia. "He was being sarcastic," White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
Trump extended his gratitude to Putin when pressed by reporters Thursday for a statement on Putin's latest move, a response to U.S. sanctions. "As far as I'm concerned I'm very thankful that he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll," Trump said, noting this will "save a lot of money." Trump also said that there is "no real reason" for the 755 expelled American diplomats "to go back."
Trump's alleged sarcasm didn't go over well in Washington, especially in the midst of the ongoing investigation into Russia's election meddling and the Trump team's potential ties to it. A State Department official said that Trump's comments were "really quite sad," as they underscore the growing sense that Trump "just doesn't get it." A former U.S. ambassador remarked: "For reasons we do not yet know, the president cannot bring himself to criticize Putin." Becca Stanek
Defending Republicans' health-care proposal Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer declared "there is no one who doesn't benefit" from the plan. Spicer's claim came on the heels of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office's report released Monday that found more than 24 million additional Americans may no longer have health insurance by 2026 under the GOP-backed American Health Care Act.
"This is it," Spicer said of the GOP plan. "If we don't get this through, the goal of repealing ObamaCare and instituting a system that will be patient-centered is going to be unbelievably difficult."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 14, 2017
When pressed to answer how the CBO's estimates square with President Trump's pledge to ensure every American is insured, Spicer insisted Trump's "goal" is to make health insurance "available to everybody." "Would you concede that there will be some coverage losses, perhaps in the millions?" CNN's Jim Acosta asked Spicer. "Sure," Spicer said, "except you have to look at the current situation." Becca Stanek