President Donald Trump has proclaimed that he believes Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) could ultimately back the Graham-Cassidy health reform bill, which aims to repeal and replace Obamacare.
On Saturday, Trump tweeted: “I know Rand Paul and I think he may find a way to get there for the good of the Party!”
The tweet echoes his remarks from last night’s rally in Alabama, where the President stated, “I haven’t given up on him, because I think he may come around.”
“Wouldn’t it be ironic if he took John McCain’s place — and they definitely do not like each other. Wouldn’t that be ironic? That would be very ironic, for those of you that know the inner workings of the Senate,” Trump continued, referring to Paul’s long and bitter rivalry with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who is also opposing the health care reform bill. Trump, who also a strained relationship with McCain, has slammed the Arizona Senator in recent days.
The remarks by Trump come as a surprise, given Paul has stated that he “won’t be bribed or bullied” into supporting the bill, and has repeatedly criticized its contents. However, Paul has unexpectedly backed similar repeal efforts in the past, voting in favor of the failed ‘skinny repeal’ proposal back in July.
The Graham-Cassidy bill is expected to pass the House of Representatives with the backing of the Freedom Caucus, but has run into trouble in the Senate, where McCain and Paul have announced their opposition to the legislation and Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) have expressed skepticism about it. If three or more Republican Senators vote against the bill, it will fail, given the narrow GOP majority in the upper chamber.
Trump appears to be on an offensive aimed at getting Paul on board with the bill, whom he has generally had a cordial rapport with, while Senate leadership is focusing on winning over Trump critics Collins and Murkowski.
A report by Politico suggests that the President has had phone conversations with Paul with regards to the bill, and he has twice mentioned Paul in recent tweets.
On Friday, Trump tweeted: “Rand Paul, or whoever votes against Hcare Bill, will forever (future political campaigns) be known as “the Republican who saved ObamaCare.”
He took a similar tone on Wednesday, when he tweeted: “Rand Paul is a friend of mine but he is such a negative force when it comes to fixing healthcare. Graham-Cassidy Bill is GREAT! Ends Ocare!”
It remains to be seen whether Paul will be successful, but it is clear that his vote will be pivotal in determining the future of this major health care reform proposal.