Trump Travels To Louisville To Gather Support For GOP Health Care Plan

Mar 21, 2017
Originally published on March 21, 2017 8:57 am
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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

President Trump yesterday left something unsaid. At a campaign rally in Kentucky, he talked about a Republican health care plan, but he did not comment on an event the same day, public testimony by the FBI and surveillance chiefs that there's no evidence that anyone wiretapped Trump Tower as the president had publicly claimed. NPR's Don Gonyea was at the rally in Louisville and is on the line. Hi, Don.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

INSKEEP: OK so first, what was in the president's remarks?

GONYEA: He spent a lot of time promoting the health care plan and talking about how bad Obamacare is. So there was that, and he talked about Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch. But, Steve, at past events, Trump has gone on at length about how important the late Justice Antonin Scalia was and what a powerful conservative he was. And he's talked about Gorsuch's deep resume and qualifications to be a great justice as well. But last night, it was really brief. Here's what the president had to say. It was almost a cursory mention.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I urge members of both parties to swiftly approve his nomination. He is an outstanding man from an outstanding family with an unbelievably wonderful wife. They should approve.

INSKEEP: And this is the day that Gorsuch will get hours of questions from senators, so he at least mentioned that. What was out of the president's remarks?

GONYEA: Well, recall that last week I was in Nashville for a rally, and the president then was happy to react to the day's news and very aggressively when a judge in Hawaii blocked his travel ban order. Well, last night in Louisville kind of the big news was as James Comey, the FBI and Russia and what we got from Trump was nothing - zero, zip, nothing on the topic.

INSKEEP: So he said nothing about the fact that the FBI director and the director of the National Security Agency rebutted a variety of the president's claims on Twitter, including his claim some weeks ago that he was wiretapped at Trump Tower? I'd like to know, though, Don, you're there not just with the president, but with the president's supporters. What do they say about this issue?

GONYEA: You know, some are watching it really, really closely, some not so much. Here's what I want to do. I want to play parts of two conversations I had. This first voice is Nathan Lewis. He's 33 years old, a construction worker. He is angry that the FBI is - Comey is not supporting Trump. Give a listen.

NATHAN LEWIS: James Comey - I would say that, you know, he's not for Trump. I don't feel like he's for Trump, and I feel that the president of the United States doesn't just put out tweets that he can't back up. He's the president of the United States. Donald Trump is a very, very smart man, and everybody is trying to find everything they can against him, something to discredit him or anything like that.

GONYEA: And the opera you hear in the background - they play that after the rallies. OK. So the other person I talked to - Carline Capozzola, 52 years old, works for the railroad. When I asked her about Comey and Russia, she said if there's real evidence, she wants to see it. But then she added this.

CARLINE CAPOZZOLA: The whole thing is - it's a shame because we've got so many problems in this country and so many things that need to be worked on. It just angers me. The whole thing angers me.

GONYEA: If there's some evidence, you're happy to see it? You haven't seen it.

CAPOZZOLA: Yeah. I want to just - I wish they would just come out with it and be done with it and get it out there.

INSKEEP: So two Trump supporters there, neither of whom I should add have had their support for him diminish at all. That's NPR's Don Gonyea in Louisville. Don, thanks.

GONYEA: Pleasure. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.