President Donald Trump continued to peddle the false claim that a Republican senator was in the hospital this week during an interview with “Fox & Friends” that aired Thursday.
When asked why he thought his tax reform plan would pass through Congress after the health care bill “went down in the Senate” this week, Trump went on the defense.
“Oh Pete, the health care bill didn’t go down,” Trump told Fox News contributor Pete Hegseth during the interview Wednesday. “We have the votes, but reconciliation is a disaster. But as you know, it ends on Friday.”
“We don’t have enough time because we have one senator who’s a ‘yes’ vote ― a great person ― but he’s in the hospital,” he continued. “So we have the votes.”
His comments Wednesday followed a tweet earlier that morning making the same claim.
But there’s no evidence a senator was in the hospital this week.
“Trump just said on six occasions a senator can’t vote because he is in the hospital,” Josh Dawsey, a reporter for Politico, tweeted Wednesday. “No one is known to be in the hospital.”
The president was reportedly referring to Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), who has been recovering from a urological issue this week, according to USA Today. But Cochran tweeted Wednesday that he was “recuperating at home” ― not in a hospital.
Trump added that a vote on the Senate health care bill, authored by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), would take place “sometime in the beginning” of 2018, but before next year’s November midterm elections.
Earlier this week, GOP leaders abandoned a vote on the bill, the latest effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, after GOP Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Rand Paul (Ky.) and Susan Collins (Maine) announced they would vote against it.