Ken Thomas

WASHINGTON: Regrouping after a rocky few weeks, the White House declared Monday that President Donald Trump doesn’t consider the health care battle to be over, suggesting he may turn to Democrats to help him overhaul the system after his own party rejected his proposal.

The sudden interest in bipartisanship is a shift for a president who has spent months mocking Democratic leaders as inept. And Democrats indicated they have no interest if his intent is still to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

But Trump’s interest reflects the strained state of his relations with conservatives in his party and his search for a way to regain his footing after the painful withdrawal of his health care legislation last Friday.

“I don’t think we’ve seen the end of health care,” White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Monday, pointing to “a series of fits and starts” that marked the process that led to passage of President Barack Obama’s health care law, too, in 2010.

Trump’s failure to win the votes to pass his bill has prompted the new president to rethink how he intends to promote his agenda in Congress.

White House officials are signaling a renewed focus on job creation, taxes and the administration’s push to win confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, a bright spot for the president. House Speaker Paul Ryan huddled at the White House with Vice President Mike Pence, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and White House chief of staff Reince Priebus to discuss the legislative agenda, a Ryan spokesman said.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said in light of the withdrawal of the House bill the president should no longer attempt to undermine the Obama law. “He’s in charge, people want him to make their lives better, not make them worse because of some political anger or vendetta,” he said.

In the meantime, lawmakers face the possibility of a partial government shutdown on April 29 unless Republicans and Democrats can manage to pass a federal spending bill or provide an extension of current funding levels.

Publicly, Trump on Monday greeted female business owners to a roundtable discussion on jobs and later joined with GOP lawmakers and members of his Cabinet as he signed into law bills focused on overturning Obama-era regulations.

“I will keep working with Congress, with every agency, and most importantly with the American people until we eliminate every unnecessary harmful and job-killing regulation that we can find,” Trump said.

The White House also has sought to deflect attention from Trump’s troubles.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions opened Monday’s daily briefing at the White House with a vigorous new call for “sanctuary cities” to comply with federal laws or risk federal funding.