President Donald Trump has not done a lot of things in a light tone since taking office, but his latest move may make many scratch their heads as he has “declared war” on Republican congressmen who blocked the recent GOP healthcare bill. Many members of Congress were against Paul Ryan’s healthcare bill, but none were more vocal of their disapproval than the House Freedom Caucus. They were always known for their very conservative stance and hatred of Obamacare.
When they saw that the GOP healthcare bill was almost a carbon copy, if not worse, than Obamacare, they immediately fought against it. They were not alone, however, as moderate Republicans pushed back on it too. Multiple Republicans called the bill rushed, and even more felt that it simply was not well put together. Even the American people were fighting against it, with NBC reporting only 17 percent of Americans were in favor of the new bill to replace Obamacare.
It seems none of this settled well with President Trump, as he decided on Thursday to yet again threaten the political careers of the Republicans who helped kill the GOP healthcare bill. However, according to a report out of Reuters, Trump was quickly told that these members of Congress will not bow to his bully tactics. In a Twitter post, Trump went after the House Freedom Caucus saying, “The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don’t get on the team, & fast. We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!”
However, with moderates against the Republican-led healthcare bill as well, it is not like the Freedom Caucus was his only opponent on the bill. In fact, more people felt like moderates may be the biggest hurdle even if he settled things with the Freedom Caucus. However, since they were the people that unified to stop the bill, Trump is aiming at them. The problem is, going against his own party may be a fatal mistake for his own political career.
Congress is controlled by the Republicans, which means it is likely that his ideology on things will be shared. If Democrats take their positions, then he would end up losing the support he has from his party members. On top of this, he cannot afford to lose the support of the Republicans in office now as Congress has to push a lot of things through even still. Healthcare, tax cuts, and infrastructure all flow through congressional budget spending.
The tricky part for Trump comes down to making two factions of Republicans happy, the Freedom Caucus and moderates. Representative and Freedom Caucus member from Michigan Justin Amash did not take what Trump said lying down it seems, as he shot right back at the president outside the U.S. Capitol on Thursday in a conversation with reporters, saying, “Most people don’t take well to being bullied.”
He was then asked if Trump’s comments were constructive, Amash said, “it’s constructive in fifth grade. It may allow a child to get his way, but that’s not how our government works.”
President Trump and his comments regarding Republicans are by no means surprising or even a first. When he launched his bid for the presidency in 2015, he attacked fellow Republicans right away. When coming out for office, he touted his real estate knowledge and deal-making abilities. However, he started off his presidency with a deal-making failure and that clearly has not settled well with Trump since.
Trump went further on Thursday in referring to the Republicans against him in Congress, or really against some of his policies. He related them to Democrats, as he reflected on how he felt betrayed by them after the death of his first real legislative move ever. Many felt the GOP healthcare bill just was not good, plain and simple. However, President Trump felt the healthcare bill was fine as it would allow him to look good by completing a promise to both repeal and replace Obamacare.
The problem was, many of his supporters were reportedly going to be affected hard by the new healthcare plan, even more than Obamacare for the next few years at the very least. The bill also took away much of what made healthcare what it was, which in turn lost moderates. Meanwhile, it was too similar to Obamacare, which lost the Freedom Caucus. House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters regarding Trump’s declaration of war against Republicans, “I understand the president’s frustration.”
He said that he shared the frustration, but Ryan said he was encouraging Republicans in Congress “to keep talking to one another.” At the end of the day, this must be done for them to get anything done of course. However, with the president against you, it makes many wonder about their seat when voting time comes about. The mistrust between the White House and Congress members has been called into question big time on the next big item on Trump’s list, sweeping tax cuts.
It seems not all members of the Freedom Caucus went right on the attack back against President Trump. Ohio Representative and co-founder of the Freedom Caucus Jim Jordan spoke with Fox & Friends on Thursday regarding the criticism of the president. He claimed that Republicans really need to figure out how to work together to confront the battle against the federal budget, appropriations, and raising the U.S. debt ceiling.
He told the show, “Look, I’m not here to assign blame to anyone. I actually think we better get this right because there are a lot of big things coming. We better get it right now, figure out how we’re going to work together to do what we told the American people we were going to do, and not just pass a bill that no one supports.”
It seems that Republicans were able to stand well together against former President Barack Obama, but they have truly struggled to come together and get anything done since Trump took office. Paul Ryan claimed in an interview with CBS on Thursday that he feared Republicans were pushing Trump toward Democrats simply because he wanted to make good on overhauling the healthcare system. Ryan said to This Morning on Thursday that he did not want Trump to do this.
Reuters reports that some conservatives outside the Freedom Caucus were a bit different when it came to the situation. Representative Thomas Massie out of Kentucky believed Trump is “still just negotiating.”
When asked if this was a productive strategy to get the Freedom Caucus back on board with him, Massie claimed, “We’re on his side. We just feel like he’s been misled on Swampcare.”
Swampcare referred to Ryan’s proposed healthcare bill. It seemed that Justin Amash did not come at Trump a small bit despite others going at him different.
On Twitter, Amash responded to Trump regarding how he has become just like the Washington establishment he promised he would drain when he got into office, saying, “It didn’t take long for the swamp to drain @realDonaldTrump. No shame, Mr. President. Almost everyone succumbs to the D.C. Establishment.”
Trump seemed to be more confident on healthcare earlier in the week, even expressing optimism about it despite the recent failure of the bill last Friday. He reportedly told a gathering of senators “that’s such an easy one” and he expected to reach a deal with lawmakers “very quickly.” The problem was, he did not offer any specifics, but White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Wednesday that this comment came during a “light-hearted” moment for Trump.
[Featured Image by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Images]