If President Trump thought this morning’s Twitter threat against the House Freedom Caucus was going to scare members into submission … well, let’s just say the art of this deal didn’t exactly turn out to be a masterpiece.
Just to review, Trump began his Twitter tirade against the HFC on Sunday, continued it on Monday, and just this morning followed up with an out-and-out threat:
Well apparently those Tweets did nothing to scare caucus members – in fact they may have had exactly the opposite effect, as noted by the great responses from today and earlier in the week mentioned in a Roll Call story from earlier today:
Rep. Trent Franks (AZ): “If somebody can get to the right of me in the primary, God bless him.”
Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (NC): “I don’t know of too many people who can challenge me from the right.”
Rep. Scott DesJarlais (TN): “In my district, we’re very conservative, so if he gets me out office, he’s going to get someone more conservative than me.”
Virginia Rep. Dave Brat offered his own theory as to what may have led to the President’s posts.
“Whoever is in the President’s ear isn’t giving him the full story on what we’re trying to achieve,” Brat said.
Franks also seemed to point a finger at establishment Republicans in what may have been a veiled reference to Speaker Paul Ryan.
“I think Congress failed the President rather than the other way around, and I can understand his frustration.”
For his part, Ryan apparently also understands but stopped well short of defending the Freedom Caucus.
“I understand the President’s frustration. I share his frustration.”
At least the two sides have that in common.
Note to Speaker Ryan: Maybe you can use that common frustration to start a productive dialogue and actually allow Freedom Caucus members to have a hand in constructing a full repeal and replace bill that the entire party could support – you know, like every Republican alive campaigned on in 2016.
It’s the kind of thing a good leader would do.