Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and President Donald Trump have lately emerged as close political allies, and continue to be involved in discussions pertaining to the Obamacare repeal legislation, much to the chagrin of Republican establishment figures both within the Senate and the White House, according to a Friday report by Burgess Everett and Josh Dawsey in Politico.
The article states that several White House officials and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have “long since given up on” winning over Sen. Paul’s vote for the repeal effort, with McConnell describing Paul as a “lost cause”. Despite this, Trump is continuing to push adamantly for Paul’s stamp of approval due to their close personal relationship. According to an aide close to Paul, Trump would like the ultimate bill to “move a little more to Rand Paul’s views.”
Some McConnell allies involved with the healthcare push have been critical of Trump’s outreach, stating that Paul “doesn’t like to vote yes” and accusing him of “trying to blow [the bill] up”. However, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) defended Paul’s efforts to change the bill, describing it as “very principled” and “absolutely” constructive.
Trump’s Special Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, Paul Teller, himself a conservative firebrand, has informed fiscally conservative organizations on the President’s behalf that Trump would be willing to sign a bill that fully repeals Obamacare without any replacement, a proposal often floated by Sen. Paul. Marc Short, the White House’s Director of Legislative Affairs also echoed Paul’s statement that Republican Senators had frequently voted for full Obamacare repeals in past years.