In the latest sign that President Trump’s feud with the House Freedom Caucus isn’t abating, Rep. Jim Jordan downplayed Mr. Trump’s threats to aid primary challenges against members of the Caucus on Sunday.
“Competition is fine,” Mr. Jordan said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I’ve never shied away from competition. If that’s what happens, that’s what happens.”
Mr. Trump blamed the 32-member conservative caucus for the demise of the American Health Care Act, which Republican leadership withdrew last month without a vote amid strong bipartisan opposition.
“The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don’t get on the team, & fast,” Mr. Trump tweeted Thursday. “We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!”
In another tweet Thursday, the president singled out for criticism Mr. Jordan, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan and Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows of North Carolina.
White House social media director Dan Scavino Jr. piled on, urging Trump supporters in a tweet Saturday to oust Mr. Amash from his seat during the primary election in 2018.
According to Mr. Scavino’s tweet, Mr. Trump “is bringing auto plants & jobs back to Michigan” and Mr. Amash “is a big liability. #TrumpTrain, defeat him in primary.”
Mr. Amash replied by quoting the adviser’s tweet and then he added: “Trump admin & Establishment have merged into #Trumpstablishment. Same old agenda: Attack conservatives, libertarians & independent thinkers.”
Mr. Jordan said he’s more concerned with repealing Obamacare than the threat of a primary.
“Justin Amash is a good friend and one of the most principled members of Congress,” Mr. Jordan said. “And, frankly, if he is primaried, I’m going to do everything I can to help him. But what concerns me more than this threat of primaries is keeping our word with the American people.”
The Ohio Republican attributed the failure of the health care bill to a flawed roll out.
“Maybe instead of hiding the bill away, rolling it out four weeks ago, having hearings where there are no witnesses who actually testify, where there are no amendments allowed to be offered, no amendments accepted, maybe we need to do the process right,” he said. “And maybe if we do, we’ll develop a product that more than 17 percent of the country actually approves of.”
He also mocked House Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s suggestion that the GOP had allowed the “perfect to become the enemy of the good” by rejecting the health care bill.
“Jake, since when did ‘good’ get defined at 17 percent approval rating?” Mr. Jordan told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “Come on.”
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