John Oliver opened Last Week Tonight looking at Donald Trump and Republicans’ effort to dump and replace Obamacare with a new plan that answers the question, “What if a bus-stop ad for a personal injury lawyer was a health care policy?”
Buried in all the other news of a bewilderingly busy week – Attorney Jeff Sessions testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee probing Russian election tampering, President Donald Trump seemed to confirm he is under investigation, Republicans shot during baseball practice, no verdict in Bill Cosby’s trial – viewers may have missed that Senate Republicans are quietly working on another version of the Trumpcare bill. The legislation has a surprising critic in Trump, who called the House version “mean.” That may have been a bit hard for House Republicans to hear from the guy who had celebrated its passage at a Rose Garden ceremony, Oliver noted.
Oliver guessed Trump said that because the House version does not enjoy a plurality of support in a single state in the country.
Republican senators say their version will be gentler, but it’s hard to know since very few people have seen it and they reportedly are planning to bypass the committee hearing and mark-up process. Oliver noted that will vastly limit the amount of changes that can be made to the bill. And yet, the GOP-ers have been strangely unprepared for the pushback they are getting.
When, for instance, Dem Sen. Claire McCaskill directly asked – as caught on C-SPAN – Sen. Orrin Hatch, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, whether there will be a hearing on the health care proposal he is planning to bring to the floor of the Senate for a vote, Hatch performed a perfect Selena Meyer. Stumped by the question, an assistant came to Hatch’s rescue, whispering into his ear: Democrats have been invited to participate in this process and we are open to all ideas and suggestions, after which he turned to McCaskill and said, “I don’t know that there is going to be another hearing, but we have invited you to participate.”
“Oh! That is pathetic,” Oliver laughed. “He really should not have lines fed to him, when he already looks like an, um…..”
An assistant came to Oliver’s rescue, whispering in his ear, “ventriloquist dummy of Mike Pence you f*cking idiot.”
“Ventriloquist dummy of Mike Pence, you f*cking idiot,” Oliver said, happily finishing his sentence.