At The Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin correctly puts responsibility on Trump:
- Blaming Democrats: "Look, we got no Democratic votes. We got none, zero," Mr. Trump told the New York Times on Friday after the bill was pulled from the House floor. "The good news is they now own health care. They now own Obamacare."
- Blaming the House Freedom Caucus: "Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare!" Trump tweeted the next day, on Saturday morning.
- Blaming Paul Ryan: "Paul Ryan needs to step down as speaker of the House," Fox News' Jeanine Pirro said Saturday night. "He failed to deliver the votes on his health care bill." (Pirro's declaration came after Trump tweeted to tune into her show, but Trump and Ryan aides say this was a coincidence.)
- Blaming Republican moderates: "You can blame it on the Freedom Caucus if you want to. But there's also a lot of moderates, Charlie Dent will be on your show in a little bit, who are also against the bill," Trump OMB Director Mick Mulvaney said on "Meet the Press" yesterday.
- Blaming Washington: "I think more importantly, we haven't been able to change Washington in the first 65 days. And I think if there's anything that's disappointing and sort of an educational process to the Trump administration was that this place was a lot more rotten than we thought that it was, and that I thought it was, because I've been here for six years," Mulvaney added on "Meet the Press."
Trump’s glaring unfamiliarity with the issues and distaste for policy made him wholly ineffective in addressing the substantive concerns of lawmakers. A purely transactional approach in which nothing matters but the deal turns out to be useless when trying to enact policies, as opposed to trying to get voters to pick you over another candidate. As an amateur in politics with no intellectual curiosity, Trump had no policy knowledge himself nor even an idea of the sorts of people he would need and what skills could be valuable for them to have. He admires only billionaires and generals who “look the part,” but he needs grizzled political pros who live and breathe politics. He mistakenly chose cronies who made him feel comfortable but who could not devise a plan that reflected his campaign message. (Reince Priebus and Stephen K. Bannon have never drafted a simple bill, let alone constructed a redesign of the health-care system.) Trump outsourced his most important legislative initiative, didn’t bother to understand the conflicts within the GOP, didn’t have the staff to explain what he needed to do and therefore was left with ineffective buzzwords and trite phrases that fell on deaf ears.