Gov. Jay Inslee met with President Donald Trump for the first time Monday and says he came away more worried than ever about the new administration’s plans for health care and immigration.
Gov. Jay Inslee says he walked away from his first in-person encounter with President Donald Trump feeling even grimmer about the new administration’s plans for health care and immigration.
Inslee and other governors met with the president Monday morning at the White House as part of a National Governors Association (NGA) gathering.
In a teleconference with reporters afterward, Inslee said he heard nothing that gave him assurance that Trump was making policy “in a thoughtful, nonchaotic, rational basis based on facts and evidence rather than just tweets.”
“I feel more concerned about that now than when I landed Thursday night,” Inslee said.
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Inslee pronounced himself shocked by Trump’s comment at the meeting that, “Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.”
The Democratic governor, whose national profile has been rising as an anti-Trump voice, called the president’s statement irresponsible given the GOP’s sweeping plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.
Republicans have argued their private-sector-focused replacement will maintain or even expand health insurance. “I think you’re going to see something very special,” Trump said of his plan at a Republican Governors Association event on Sunday.
Inslee rejected that, saying Republicans simply want to slash spending on health care.
“They try to paper that over to say we’ve got some, you know, Dr. Feelgood’s Magic Elixir that’s going to allow us to spend billions of dollars less money and nobody gets hurt … it’s an hallucination.”
Inslee said governors received no assurances about the future of so-called “Dreamers” brought here illegally as children but granted work permits under the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“It would be very simple for him to say, but he did not say it,” Inslee said.
In a reversal from Obama-era policies, the Trump administration has signaled plans to deport millions of people living illegally in the country. A Department of Homeland Security directive would target undocumented immigrants who have been charged or convicted of any crime, including minor offenses.
Inslee said he did not get a chance himself to ask Trump a question during the meeting with governors, as the president mostly called on Republicans.
The trip to Washington, D.C., for the bipartisan NGA meetings was paid for by the state as part of his official duties, said Jaime Smith, a governor’s office spokeswoman.
On Monday, Inslee was traveling from Washington, D.C., to New York for a Democratic Governors Association event. Costs for those partisan events will paid for by Inslee’s campaign, Smith said.
Inslee was scheduled to return to Washington state Tuesday evening.