Trump at­tacks GOP’s Free­dom Caucus

Af­ter fail­ure to over­haul Oba­macare, pres­i­dent has gone from blam­ing Democrats tomem­bers of his own party.

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Jonathan Lemire

wash­ing­ton » Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump trained his fire on mem­bers of his own par­tyThurs­day, declar­ing in the af­ter­math of the Repub­li­cans’ failed health care push that the con­ser­va­tive Free­dom Caucus will hurt the en­tire GOP agenda. He vowed to “fight them” in 2018 if they don’t get be­hind him.

The early- morn­ing tweet from Trump high­lighted the grow­ing schism in aRepub­li­can Party that con­trols the White House and both branches ofCongress yet ap­pears to be tee­ter­ing on the precipice of a civil war. Repub­li­cans plunged into a blame game over the demise of the years- long push to re­peal and re­place Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s sig­na­ture health care leg­is­la­tion, with mem­bers snip­ing at each other over how­much they can­work with Democrats— or even the White House.

Trump’s anger at the Free­domCau­cus for pos­ing as a stub­born im­ped­i­ment to his gov­ern­ing runs the risk of alien­at­ing the con­ser­va­tive base that fu­eled his rise dur­ing last year’s Re­pub­li­can pri­maries and has to this point re­mained loyal to the pres­i­dent.

With his poll num­bers fall­ing and his plans to move onto tax re­form and a ro­bust in­fra­struc­ture pro­gram im­per­iled, Trump took to Twit­ter to at­tack the con­ser­va­tive group that many in the White House hold re­spon­si­ble for sab­o­tag­ing last week’s health care vote.

“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!” Trump said.

Hours later, he went a step fur­ther and sin­gled out three mem­bers of the Free­dom Caucus — Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho, Rep. Jim Jor­dan of Ohio and its chair­man, Rep. Mark Mead­ows of North Carolina — in a se­ries of tweets. He said that if they “would get on board we would have both great health­care and mas­sive tax cuts& re­form.”

The tweet was the lat­est step in Trump’s ap­par­ent evo­lu­tion from blam­ing Democrats to mem­bers of his own party for the big­gest de­feat his WhiteHouse has faced so far. But as the White House con­sid­ered flex­ing its mus­cle against the Free­domCau­cus, the group re­mained un­bowed, with sev­eralmem­bers spar­ring with a pres­i­dent whose agenda has stalled.

“It didn’t take long for the swamp to drain @ re­alDon­aldTrump,” tweeted Rep. Justin Amash of Michi­gan. “No shame, Mr. Pres­i­dent. Al­most ev­ery­one suc­cumbs to the D. C. Es­tab­lish­ment.”

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