Thwarted by two factions of fellow Republicans, from the center and far right, House Speaker Paul Ryan said President Barack Obama's health care law, the GOP's No. 1 target in the new Trump administration, will remain in place "for the foreseeable future". "All of us, myself included, we will need time to reflect on how we got to this moment, and what we could've done better". "This bill is pure greed, and real people will suffer and die from it", said Republican Pramila Jayapal of Washington state. Ryan shelved it amid defections from centrist Republicans who thought it went too far and conservatives who considered it too weak, plus solid Democratic opposition.
"Perhaps the best thing that could happen is exactly what happened today, because we'll end up with a truly great healthcare bill in the future after this mess known as Obamacare explodes", Trump said on Friday in a statement to reporters at the Oval Office.
"I think we have to let Obamacare go its way". "We learned about loyalty, we learned a lot about the vote-getting process".
It was a stunning defeat for the new president after he had demanded House Republicans delay no longer and vote on the legislation Friday, pass or fail.
Democrats in the House are dead set against the bill, and it was unclear late on Thursday night whether Republican leaders had enough support from their own members to pass it, despite a series of last-minute sweeteners meant to broaden its appeal. "I think Paul really worked hard". "I never said repeal and replace Obamacare - you've all heard my speeches - I never said repeal it and replace it within 64 days", said Trump, according to Politico.
The president says he has a great relationship with the Republican Party and isn't going to speak badly about GOP lawmakers.
"Democrats will reach out when they're ready", Trump added.
Despite reports of backbiting from administration officials toward Ryan, Trump said: "I like Speaker Ryan". "It's about the 155 million people who receive their health benefits in the workplace and who will not be assaulted by some of the provisions the Republicans put in the bill". While political analysts said the matter seemed dead for now, some conservatives urged Republicans not to throw in the towel.
"They can't write policy that actually makes sense, they can't implement the policies they do manage to write, they can't get their stories straight, and today we've learned that they can't close a deal, and they can't count votes", Schumer said. "This is a disappointing day for us".
Mr Trump is certain to be weakened politically - with a big early congressional defeat adding to the continuing inquiries into his presidential campaign's Russian Federation connections and his unfounded wiretapping allegations against Mr Obama.
"The president has been working the phones and having in-person meetings since the American Health Care Act was introduced", he said just before the vote was expected.
Instead, Ryan struggled - and failed - to thread the needle between conservative hardliners in the House Freedom Caucus and moderate lawmakers anxious that the GOP measure would harm their constituents - and their political prospects in midterm elections that promise to be bruising for Republicans.