It was not only the Freedom Caucus creating problems for Trump. A group of more moderate Republicans, known as the Tuesday Group, stood opposed to the bill, despite the president’s pleadings.
One such member, Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.), attended meetings at the White House and praised Trump’s style, saying the president clearly “knows Jersey.” But, he added, the bill would harm his constituents who rely on Medicaid and there was nothing Trump could say to persuade him otherwise.
“He’s got this wit about him that I enjoy,” Lance said, “but I’m a ‘no’ vote.”
On March 8, Trump met with a small group of conservative activists with hopes that their groups would get behind the bill. Someone with direct knowledge of the meeting described it as “a ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit,” with the president boasting about how “great” the bill was and his aides seconding his assessment “like a Greek chorus.”
Meanwhile for the first time during this presidency Democratic activists organized and scared the hell out of their legislators, of both parties. To be clear, had we dealt with President Ted Cruz or President Jeb Bush, either would have suffered a defeat. There was no way to please the House Freedom Caucus, a disciplined cabal that quotes Hayek and von Mises to justify the killing of the old and sick and female. I find it amusing that the president and GOP caucus thinks repealing the ACA a distraction from the Real Thing That Everyone Wants, “tax reform.” But what was the so-called American Health Care Act but a gargantuan redistribution of wealth towards the rich? “Infrastructure” is a euphemism for the privatizing of road repair and bridge construction. I can find no legislation that Democrats can join without tethering themselves to a man whose closest advisors and Cabinet members may get subpoenaed in the next few months.