In a wide-ranging interview, President Trump reflected on the issues that have dogged him through the first 100 days of his presidency, declining to rule out military action with North Korea and insisting preexisting conditions would remain in the health care bill he wants to push through Congress.
Sitting down with CBS News’ John Dickerson, Trump said that he “didn’t want to discuss” the missiles North Korea had been launching — the latest of which happened on Friday — only noting that he would not be happy if these actions continue. When asked if that sentiment could morph into military action, Trump responded, “I don’t know. I mean, we’ll see.”
The President did have some praise for North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, referring to him as a “smart cookie.” “He was a young man of 26 or 27 when he took over from his father, when his father died. He’s dealing with obviously very tough people, in particular the generals and others,” Trump said.
Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea have increased in recent weeks as Kim Jong Un continues testing missiles. In response, the United States ordered the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier to the waters off the Korean Peninsula, and conducted its own nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile test. Last week, the Trump administration summoned the entire Senate to the White House for a briefing about this issue.
Aside from his foreign policy, the President was also asked about his effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, which Congressional Republicans are working on a second time. The first version of their replacement bill, the American Healthcare Act, failed to make it to the House floor for a vote because it didn’t have enough support.
Insisting that he would not sign a bill that didn’t benefit the voters who catapulted him to victory, Trump told CBS the new version of a health care bill would include coverage that didn’t penalize people who had preexisting conditions. “We’ve set up a pool for the pre-existing conditions so that the premiums can be allowed to fall,” he said. “Pre-existing conditions are in the bill. And I mandate it. I said, “Has to be.”
Trump tweeted Sunday that a new health care plan with lower deductibles and guarantees for coverage of preexisting conditions was “on its way,” but didn’t specify when it would be introduced to the public.
Trump’s comments contradict an amendment to the American Health Care Act that House Republicans introduced earlier this week that would allow states to opt out of certain Obamacare regulations, according to a copy first obtained by Politico, which includes a ban on charging people higher premiums for preexisting conditions.