- The Washington Times
Thursday, March 30, 2017

The co-founder of a national tea party group said Thursday that she hopes President Trump will come to the realization that the members of the House Freedom Caucus that helped sink the GOP’s health care bill last week are trying to help him deliver on a campaign promise.

Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots said Mr. Trump’s frustration with the legislative process — which he directed Wednesday at the Freedom Caucus — should be aimed House GOP leaders.

“We — and the members of the House Freedom Caucus — are the people who stood by President Trump in the fall, when many in the House GOP leadership abandoned him,” Ms. Martin said. “If President Trump wants to drain the swamp of Washington, D.C., he should aim his frustration at those who have been in the swamp the longest, not the ones who are trying to change business as usual in D.C.”

“He should aim his frustration at those who care more about committee assignments and the special interests on K Street, rather than the people who stand for their constituents first and focus on keeping their promises,” she said.

House Speaker Paul Ryan and Mr. Trump failed to muster enough support last week for a health care bill that critics said left too much of Obamacare on the books. They could not overcome opposition from Democrats, as well as members of the House Freedom Caucus, and moderate Republicans.

Since then Mr. Trump has ramped up his criticism of the Freedom Caucus and warned its members in a tweet Thursday to “get on the team.”

“The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don’t get on the team, & fast. We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter.

Ms. Martin said the criticism is misguided.

“We hope President Trump will realize the patriots of the House Freedom Caucus are simply trying to help him keep the promise they all made to the American people to repeal Obamacare fully and restore freedom to our health care system,” she said.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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