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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump declared Friday that he would "let Obamacare implode" after the Senate failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
"I said from the beginning, 'Let Obamacare implode'...I turned out to be right," Trump said at a gathering for law enforcement officers battling the MS-13 gang in Long Island. "Let Obamacare implode."
Trump said the Republican-controlled Senate should have succeeded in passing what has come to be known as the "skinny" repeal of Obamacare, lamenting "the swamp" that the president feels got in the way.
"Boy, oh, boy, they’ve been working on that one for seven years. Can you believe that?" he said of Obamacare repeal. Still, he promised, "We'll get it done."
Trump has previously said that allowing Obamacare to crash and burn would bring Democrats to the table to negotiate with Republican on overhauling the health care system.
The president did not extend a hand to Democrats to work with the White House and Republicans on a health care compromise.
Three Republican senators — John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, and Susan Collins — joined Democrats in voting against the repeal bill around 1:40 a.m Friday morning.
Trump's remarks Friday were centered around efforts to "dismantle, decimate, and eradicate" the MS-13 gang, known for its violence in Suffolk County, New York, as well as other areas. But his remarks veered off script to include asides on the benefits to the country in having rich secretaries of the Commerce and Treasury Departments, trade deficits and the size of the motorcycle brigades that flanked his motorcade during the 2016 campaign.
Trump's tough line on immigration earned him support during the presidential race, and he has sought to make undocumented immigrants who have committed violent crimes and violent gangs the face of his crusade for a wall and tighter security on the Southern border. That pitch often includes graphic description of crimes, with Friday being no exception as Trump talked about gruesome murders committed by gang members with clubs, machetes and knives.
"These are animals," he said. "They have transformed peaceful parks and beautiful, quiet neighborhoods, into blood-stained killing fields."
For that reason, Trump encouraged roughness from law enforcement in the battle against gangs and cartels.
"When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon — you just see them thrown in, rough — I said, 'Please don't be too nice,'" Trump said, using a description for a police vehicle that some consider to be an anti-Irish slur. "Like when you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head. You know? The way you put their hand over — like don’t hit their head and they just killed somebody, don’t hit their head. I said you can take the hand away, OK?"
Trump said the effort to curtail gangs is working.
"One by one we’re liberating our Americans towns — can you believe that I’m saying that we’re talking about liberating our towns it’s like a scene in a movie," the president said. "They’re liberating the town, like in the old Wild West right? We’re liberating our towns. I never thought I’d be up here talking about liberating the towns on Long Island."