Trump largely absent in final health care sprint

02:18 - Source: CNN
Trump's role in health care bill

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Trump has no big plans to sell his health care bill this week

He is taking a different approach than Obama

Washington CNN  — 

President Donald Trump has no plans to play a larger role in selling the Republican health care bill this week, an administration official told CNN Monday.

Though he often touts himself as the ultimate salesman with a knack for closing deals, he has remained tight-lipped and out of the spotlight, letting others make the last-minute push for health care reform for him.

There are no plans for Trump to travel the country to pitch the bill, the official said.

RELATED: GOP Health care bill on the brink (again)

The President also has not visited Capitol Hill in hopes of cajoling dubious Republican senators who are wary to support the bill, like Vice President Mike Pence has. Instead, he’s worked the phones, calling Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Dean Heller of Nevada before he headed to the G20 Summit in Germany.

He has also tweeted his encouragement.

“For years, even as a “civilian,” I listened as Republicans pushed the Repeal and Replace of ObamaCare. Now they finally have their chance!” Trump tweeted Sunday.

Marc Short, Trump’s legislative affairs director, said Monday that “the President has remained very active in this debate, you will see him continue to remain so.”

But Short admitted during the off-camera briefing with reporters that “it’s a fair point” to make that Democrats were more organized messengers for their health care bill than Republicans have been.

“There’s more we could do to educate the public,” he said.

By and large, Trump has steered clear of the tactics his predecessor used to garner support for his health care bill.

President Barack Obama was known for shedding his jacket and rolling up his sleeves as he pitched health care reform town halls. He held campaign-style rallies outside of shopping centers in Minneapolis and lead thousands in chants of “Yes, we can.”

Obama even canceled a trip overseas just days before he was scheduled to depart because the House was expected to vote on health care in the coming days, and Democratic leaders were scrambling for votes.

With Trump not using presidential power to sell this bill – especially with large scale events in key states – the plan has little chance of rising from the depths of its low approval ratings. The Senate bill has just a 17% approval rating, according to a recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.

“I think it comes down to the fact that he doesn’t really care that much about health care,” one Republican aide said of Trump. “He just wants it done so he can fulfill that promise.”

“This will be great if we get it done and if we don’t get it done it’s going to be something that we’re not going to like and that’s OK and I can understand that,” Trump recently told the senators gathered at the White House.

But it could be Trump’s absence is the best move for those who hope for the legislation’s passage.

The GOP aide told CNN that most senators would prefer for Trump to stay out of the health care negotiations.

“President Trump tends to complicate matters,” the aide said. “Honestly, I think they are happy he isn’t publicly pushing for it.”

Pence hitting the road

Pence, a former congressman, has been much more involved.

He shuttles back and forth to Capitol Hill for a luncheon with Senate Republicans almost every week, and in late June, he invited several of them who were undecided over to his private residence for dinner.

The vice president is scheduled to travel to Kentucky for a listening session with those who have been negatively impacted by the Affordable Care Act this Wednesday before heading to Providence, Rhode Island, Friday to deliver a speech his aides say will focus on health care at the National Governors Association summer meeting.

In an interview with radio host Laura Ingraham Monday, Pence made another public plea on the bill’s behalf.

“This week is critical, and if you want to see Congress repeal and replace Obamacare, now is the time to let your voice be heard,” Pence said.

Pence also made the pitch for the bill during a radio interview with Rush Limbaugh Monday.

“This is the moment,” Pence said. “Now is the time.”