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Gov. Jay Inslee very ‘disturbed’ after Trump meeting

Washington Governor Jay Inslee and President Donald Trump (AP)

If there is one word to sum up Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s impressions of President Donald Trump and his intentions in the nation’s capitol, it would be “disturbed.”

“I was also shocked when the president said, and this is almost a direct quote, ‘Who knew that healthcare was going to be complicated?’” Inslee said of his meeting with the president and the National Governors Association over the weekend. “It was just stunning to have the president, who wants to dismantle the whole system, basically show that he doesn’t understand this in its complexity in the first order. It was just a disturbing thing to hear him say.”

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Gov. Inslee said he is more concerned now than he was before his meeting with the president.

“I have to express really deep concern about what is going on here in the nation’s capitol,” he said. “We are always hopeful that the president will give us assurance that things will be handled in a thoughtful, non-chaotic, rational basis — based on facts and evidence, rather than just tweets.”

Inslee reports that Trump only took about eight questions from governors, seven of which were from Republicans. But there was a range of topics the Washington governor was able to address with administration officials.

Inslee and Trump on healthcare

Inslee focused his attention on healthcare on Monday. He said that 750,000 people in Washington have healthcare through the Affordable Care Act and argued that Republicans want to dismantle it to boost tax cuts for wealthy Americans.

The president brought that, himself, into focus today. He said he would rather give tax cuts — that have a hugely disproportionate amount that go to the wealthy — than do healthcare. But the rules prevent him from doing so. It was an astounding statement …

To link this to tax cuts was disturbing to me because for me the goal ought to be to have better healthcare for people, not just a way to have a piggy bank to hand out tax cuts to the wealthy. To me, it’s pretty apparent that this is what it is about.

Immigration

Frequently calling them “dreamers” in Washington’s colleges, working to become doctors and engineers, Inslee expressed concerns about the Trump administration’s plans for immigrants.

I can tell you that this weekend I did not receive any reassurance that the administration would show a more judicious and thoughtful approach to issues of the executive order or immigration. In fact, some things made me more disturbed that would suggest this was not a thoughtful approach and not justified by national security.

Inslee noted that officials referred to “phase one,” which was to focus on people with criminal or gang backgrounds. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe pressed the president on the issue.

He sort of alluded that there would be a phase two or three. The governor was looking for him to say, ‘This is going to be it; people with criminal backgrounds.’ He could have very easily said this was all we are going to do, but in fact he only described it as phase one, which suggests there is another phase coming.

It would be very easy for the president to simply say, ‘We are not going to try and deport the dreamers in the state’ … but he did not say it. That’s disturbing.

Trade war and agriculture

One Republican governor expressed concern about a trade war with other countries and what that could do to agriculture.

This Republican governor said, ‘Hey, we’d appreciate it if you didn’t start a trade war because the first thing they’d shoot is our agricultural exports and these countries we export to will slap tariffs on our ag exports. And the president’s response was quite glib. He just said, ‘Hey, I’m the master of trade. Don’t worry about it.’ It was not an in depth response.

Defense spending

Being that Washington has several military bases, increased military spending could benefit the state. But Inslee is skeptical where the money would come from.

It depends on where the financing is to finance it. If it ends up cutting people on food stamps or child welfare programs or education benefits — and that’s what it sounds like they want to do. Again, they are fixated on tax cuts for the wealthy and cutting services for Americans.

Legal, recreational marijuana

Marijuana was not a topic Inslee discussed in Washington D.C. The New Attorney General Jeff Sessions is known to be anti-marijuana.

We will be diligent in protecting the public’s will and largely successful effort to have an integrated, consumer-friendly market that, instead of putting money into criminal’s pockets, it helps our schools and drug education.

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