President Donald Trump today hammered the Freedom Caucus and two allied Tea Party organizations, the Club for Growth and Heritage Action, for their strident opposition to Speaker Paul Ryan’s American Health Care Act (ACHA), which was aimed at repealing and replacing Obamacare.
On Twitter, Trump stated that “Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood and OCare!”
Fiscal conservatives strongly opposed the ACHA, arguing the legislation did not go far enough in repealing crucial aspects of Obamacare, particularly with regards to its regulations and subsidies, resulting in the bill ultimately being pulled on Friday.
While the ACHA would have defunded Planned Parenthood, many conservatives and libertarians, including the members of the Freedom Caucus, grew concerned that the bill served as nothing more than ‘Obamacare Lite’.
Trump’s decision to attack Heritage was especially surprising, as the group’s parent think tank, the Heritage Foundation, has worked closely with the Trump campaign and administration on policy, particularly with regards to judicial appointments, tax reform and the budget, although relations have reportedly strained in recent weeks over the healthcare issue.
The Club for Growth, on the other hand, has been a frequent target of Trump’s ire. The group railed against Trump during the primary, endorsing his main rival, Sen. Ted Cruz and spending millions on attack ads against his campaign, culminating in Trump threatening to sue the organization and describing it as “dishonest, irrelevant and totally failing.”
In previous reports, Trump had suggested members of the Freedom Caucus could lose their seats if they opposed the legislation, although Trump was said to be joking when he made those remarks. While there have been reports that Chief Strategist Steve Bannon is keeping tabs on the Congressmen who rebelled on the ACHA, it remains to be seen as to whether Trump will follow through on this implied threat.