- REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans facing stiff opposition from Democrats and even many conservative Republicans amid the rollout of their Affordable Care Act replacement plan.
But they may face an even larger challenge from the conservative media outlets that fervently supported Trump’s candidacy.
Less than a day after the unveiling of the American Healthcare Act, many conservative media figures and outlets appeared lukewarm or outright opposed to the new bill, which they criticized for falling short of cutting government spending and the tax credits imposed by Obamacare that would be partially kept in place by the proposed bill.
Breitbart led its website Tuesday afternoon with a story titled “Obamacare 2.0 guts enforcement, gives illegal aliens healthcare through identity fraud. Other than that….”
Breitbart is now unloading on “Obamacare 2.0” pic.twitter.com/kNW8yQsxZN
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) March 7, 2017
Other conservative figures, including radio host Laura Ingraham and Twitter personality Mike Cernovich, slammed the bill, accusing Republicans of cowardice.
Why are Repubs always so scared to take the leap and take the fight to the Dems? Shortsighted. #RealRepeal
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) March 7, 2017
GOP’s new Obamacare bill is more of the same. This is why we must defeat the anti-American Republicans in the mid-terms. Patriots only!
— Mike Cernovich (@Cernovich) March 7, 2017
Other pro-Trump figures appeared hesitant to directly criticize the plan.
On his radio show Tuesday, Fox News anchor Sean Hannity urged Republicans to “hammer this out,” asking what Republicans could do to avoid a “civil war.”
The Fox News host asked House Freedom Caucus member Rep. David Brat – one of a group of Republicans strongly opposed to the ACHA’s proposed tax credits – what changes he needed to get behind the current plan.
“I wish it was thought out better. I wish these meetings that I’m going to propose had taken place earlier,” Hannity said to Brat, referring to forthcoming meetings between House Freedom Caucus members and Republican leadership.
He continued: “What I don’t understand is all these criticisms that you guys had before the bill were in the bill anyway. Do you think they just ignored it on purpose?”
Observers also noted silence from some conservative media big-wigs as a sign of some hesitation on the bill.
The Drudge Report – an influential news hub particularly among right-leaning news consumers –largely ignored the news on Tuesday, instead highlighting news of WikiLeaks’ dump of CIA cyber-espionage documents and touting a write-up of conservative best-selling author Ann Coulter slamming the bill.
Still, many skeptical right-leaning media figures stopped short of slamming Trump outright.
Breitbart’s headline Tuesday story on the plan didn’t note that the president voiced his support for the bill, writing simply that “some Republicans” favored it.
Hannity also avoided criticizing Trump, focusing instead on how House Republicans failed to adequately address the Freedom Caucus’ concerns with the bill’s shortcomings.