President Donald Trump declared war on all the members of his own party, by threatening the political careers of Republicans who helped turn down healthcare legislation he backed, but he got a quick response that the lawmakers will not bow to “bullying.”
In a post on Twitter, Trump aimed at the group called Freedom Caucus, which is consisted by the most conservative Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, indicating he would try to defeat them through the next year’s congressional elections if they continued to oppose him.
“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!” Was the content of Trump’s post on Twitter.
Trump cannot afford to lose many Republicans as he tries to get his legislative agendathrough Congress, because he faces unified opposition by Democratic lawmakers. But keeping Freedom Caucus members happy without losing the support of Republican moderates has proven not easy.
Representative Justin Amash, a Freedom Caucus member from Michigan, gave a reply immediately at Trump in remarks outside the U.S. Capitol.
“Most people don’t take well to being bullied,” Amash spoke in front of the reporters. Asked if Trump’s meant those comments to be constructive, Amash added: “It’s constructive in fifth grade. It may allow a child to get his way, but that’s not how our government works.”
Since launching his presidential bid in 2015, Trump has shown little reluctance to assail fellow Republican political adversaries as well as Democrats, often in scathing terms.
Trump, is a real estate magnate and he touted his skills as a dealmaker in his White House campaign will be enough. He previously accused Freedom Caucus lawmakers of snatching “defeat from the jaws of victory” because of their opposition to Republican healthcare legislation he supported to make a replacement of the Democratic former President Barack Obama’s 2010 Affordable Care Act.
Trump went farther on. He equated members of his own Republican party with the opposition Democrats, he reflected the extent to which he was feeling betrayed by the conservative lawmakers specially with the collapse of his first major legislative initiative.
As was told to the reporters by the Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan: “I understand the president’s frustration,” adding that he also feels the frustration. Ryan said he was helping Republican lawmakers “to keep talking to one another.”
Next big item in to question by Trump’s agenda were the sweeping tax cuts, all because of the mistrust between the White House and hardline conservatives in Congress.
The Representative Jim Jordan from Ohio, a co-founder of the group of Freedom Caucus, has made a more measured response to Trump’s remarks and avoided directly criticizing of the president. According to Jordan, Republicans need to figure out how to work as a team to confront battles to come including the federal budget, appropriations and raising the U.S. debt ceiling.
Jordan spoke for the “Fox & Friends” program: “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.”
Republicans presented a unified front against Obama but have problems to come together and give support to specific legislative proposals since Trump become president in January.
The reason why Freedom Caucus members opposed the Trump-backed healthcare legislation was because they think that parts of the legislation were too similar to the Obamacare law which it was supposed to replace.
In an interview Ryan said that he feared the Republican Party is pushing the president toward the Democrats so Trump can fulfil the campaign promises on an overhaul of the healthcare system.
“I don’t want that to happen,” Ryan said for the CBS program “This Morning” program, referring to Trump’s giving an offer to work with Democrats.
Some conservatives outside the circle of the Freedom Caucus are frustrated at Trump’s remarks about the bloc.
“I think he’s still just negotiating,” was the statement of Representative Thomas Massie who is known Kentucky conservative but is not a member of the Freedom Caucus.
When the representative mentioned above was asked if he thinks that this was a productive strategy by Trump to get Freedom Caucus members on board, Massie said, “We’re on his side. We just feel like he’s been misled on Swampcare,” referring to the healthcare legislation favored by Ryan.
Trump is expecting to get the healthcare legislation through Congress despite the failure of the House bill in the near past, concluded after Trump had told a gathering of senators “that’s such an easy one” and that he expected lawmakers to reach a deal “very quickly.” There were no specifics offered by trump, and White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Trump’s statements came during a “light-hearted” moment.