Donald Trump on Friday asked House Speaker Paul Ryan to withdraw an embattled Republican health care bill, moments before a vote, signalling a major political defeat for the US president.
“The speaker talked to the president at three o’clock today and the president asked the speaker to pull the bill,” a leadership aide in the House of Representatives told AFP.
Trump had put his reputation as a dealmaker on the line with the high-risk vote, even as Republican rebels threatened to torpedo their own party’s attempt to repeal and replace Barack Obama’s signature health law.
Repealing and replacing the programme known as Obamacare was one of his major election pledges.
Earlier on Friday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that the vote would go ahead at 15:30 (19:30 GMT).