On Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted that the Republican Senate couldn’t pass Graham-Cassidy, its last-ditch effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, because a Republican senator was in the hospital.
The president would repeat that claim over and over again throughout the day. He even said it again on Thursday morning, in an appearance on Fox and Friends.
At the very least, we can definitively say that half of Trump’s statement is false: Graham-Cassidy didn’t fail because of a Republican senator in the hospital; it failed because enough senators said they would side with the Democrats in voting against the bill, which one liberal think-tank estimated would kick even more people off their health care than the 32 million who would have lost coverage under the so-called “skinny repeal.”
Even Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, a member of Republican Senate leadership, admitted as much on Thursday morning.
“If we had the votes, we’d be voting right now,” the Republican Conference chair told CNN’s Chris Cuomo.
But even though we know definitively why Graham-Cassidy didn’t pass, we’re still left with one lingering question: Which Republican senator is in the hospital — and if there isn’t one, why is Trump still insisting that there is?
Mic looked into the last 24 hours in Republican senators’ lives to see if we could figure out if anyone was unaccounted for. Here’s what we could determine.
It isn’t Thad Cochran
Initial reports suggested that Trump was referencing Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, who was recovering following a urological problem. However, Cochran tweeted on Wednesday that he wasn’t hospitalized — rather, he was recuperating at home.
It begs the question: if Cochran clarified any confusion surrounding his whereabouts on Wednesday afternoon, why was the president still claiming that there was a senator in the hospital on Thursday morning?
It doesn’t appear to be any of the senators who rolled out tax reform
On Wednesday, shortly after Trump’s initial tweet, members of the GOP unified congress announced their party’s tax reform plan. We can safely say that none of these people are the mystery Republican senator who is supposed to be in the hospital.
The Republican senators at the rollout include Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Rob Portman of Ohio, Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Dean Heller of Nevada, Tim Scott of South Carolina and Thune.
Who does that leave us with?
Based on their activity on social media and their public appearances, we have reason to believe that none of the following Republican Sens. are in the hospital:
John Cornyn of Texas
John Barrasso of Wyoming
Roy Blunt of Missouri
Dan Sullivan of Alaska
Cory Gardner of Colorado
Mike Lee of Utah
Richard Shelby of Alabama
Jeff Flake of Arizona
John Boozman of Arkansas
Tom Cotton of Arkansas
Marco Rubio of Florida
Johnny Isakson of Georgia
David Perdue of Georgia
Jim Risch of Idaho
Todd Young of Indiana
Joni Ernst of Iowa
Pat Roberts of Kansas
Jerry Moran of Kansas
John Kennedy of Louisiana
Roger Wicker of Mississippi
Steve Daines of Montana
Deb Fischer of Nebraska
Ben Sasse of Nebraska
Richard Burr of North Carolina
Thom Tillis of North Carolina
John Hoeven of North Dakota
Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma
James Lankford of Oklahoma
Lindsey Graham of South Carolina
Mike Rounds of South Dakota
Lamar Alexander of Tennessee
Bob Corker of Tennessee
Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia
Ron Johnson of Wisconsin
Is there anyone who you couldn’t figure out?
We couldn’t figure out if Sen. Luther Strange made any public appearance on Wednesday following his primary defeat to Roy Moore on Tuesday evening. Though Strange is likely nursing those wounds, it’s unlikely he’d be hospitalized immediately following that defeat without any reporters catching wind.
Same with Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, one of the co-authors of the failed health care bill. It’s unlikely he’d miss the chance to vote on his own bill without any press catching wind.
We didn’t check in on any of the Republican senators who announced they would vote no in the bill — which as of Thursday include John McCain of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Susan Collins of Maine.
It remains unclear who the president thinks is in the hospital. Mic will update this story should we get to the bottom of it.