President Donald Trump has declared war on the Freedom Caucus, the ultra-rightist wing of the Congressional Republicans. Trump is miffed that the group whose politics borders largely on anarchy has thrown a monkey-wrench into his “repeal-and-replace” healthcare bill. For that reason, the president is planning, or so it seems, to primary the caucus members ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. The Washington Post reports:
President Trump effectively declared war Thursday on the House Freedom Caucus, the powerful group of hard-line conservative Republicans who blocked the GOP health-care bill, vowing to “fight them” in the 2018 midterm elections.
In a morning tweet, Trump warned that the Freedom Caucus would “hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don’t get on the team, & fast.” He grouped its members, all of them Republican, with Democrats in calling for their political defeat — an extraordinary incitement of intraparty combat from a sitting president.
“Nothing to add at this time,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “The president’s tweet speaks for itself.”
Perspective: In a fight between Trump and the Freedom Caucus, I’d put all my money on the president. Conventional wisdom should teach anyone who has watched Trump in his fights against opponents that no matter the obstacles that come his way, he somehow still manages to pull off a victory, however Pyrrhic that victory may appear to critics. The group relies essentially on the same base of supporters that helped power the president to victory in the last election. More than likely, those supporters won’t abandon the president if forced to choose between him and the Caucus members.
As further proof, a segment on CNN this morning assembled 6 of those supporters for their report cards on the president’s job performance after 70 chaotic days in office. All but one of the 6 supporters gave him an “A”. The dissenting member gave Trump a “B”, which, by the way, was still a very generous opinion in light of the reality.
At some point, someone has to take on this recalcitrant group of lawmakers and bring its anarchy to a humiliating end, it doesn’t matter who the matador is. If that daunting challenge falls to Trump, even Democrats should encourage it in a bi-partisan fashion, and “bigly”, too.