Neil Cavuto sets up the interview with Tea Party leader Mark Meckler, warning that fears are the House Freedom Caucus “could lose its impact and power and even respect.” He notes Meckler’s disgust with the way that President Trump has been characterizing members of the Freedom Caucus who opposed the Ryancare Obamacare-lite bill.
Meckler describes the current state of relations between conservatives and President Trump as “an incredible transition,” saying, “He’s gone from the guy who said he’s going to DC to drain the swamp, Freedom Caucus are drain the swamp kind of guys, now it looks like we’ve got the Creature from the Black Lagoon in the White House, because now he’s talking about no repeal, breaking his promises.”
Reminding the audience, Meckler says, “I mean his promise was repeal, repeal, repeal. It was not Obamacare lite, so, yeah, I’m disgusted. He’s going against the wrong people. He should be going against the moderates and the leadership, not the Freedom Caucus.”
Cavuto counters, saying that Trump was arguing that the measure was better than nothing in that it was better than the one it was replacing. Meckler reminds Cavuto that with passage came ownership of and a ticket about the sinking ship, claiming “most of what they wanted was in there.”
“The reality is, “Meckler says, there is no conservative group in America that agrees with what you just said or what the President said. Everybody says it’s a worse deal, it’s going to be a disaster, it increases the death spiral on the insurance exchanges. Ultimately what’s going to happen is the system is going to crash and the Republicans would be to blame. That’s not what we’re looking for. We’re looking for a president who keeps his promises.”
Cavuto raises the loyalty of the Freedom Caucus when the Billy Bush tape came out and the caution by Rep Justin Amash against forgetting his friends. Meckler isn’t sure if conservatives are angry with the President but “it’s certainly frustration, and I do think he’s forgetting his friends. Suddenly he’s standing with the swamp creatures instead of those who are there to help him drain the swamp.”
Meckler observes, “The biggest mistake he’s making, Neil, is he’s separating himself from the base. And what I know is what the grass roots think and I can tell you they’re furious with the President over this, they don’t like him attacking the Freedom Caucus. The Freedom Caucus speaks for most of us in the base out there, separating himself from that is damaging Trump’s brand.”
He recommends a two step process. First vote on the Mo Brooks one sentence bill to repeal Obamacare which, if it goes down in flames gives conservatives an enemies list to work with for targeting in the primaries. Then move on to real tax reform that the President promised during the election.
As for the hints President Trump has made of supporting primary challenges to Freedom Caucus faithful, Meckler says, “Good luck. If you’re going to challenge your own base, I would say bring it on. The Tea Party delivered the House of Representatives in 2010, the Senate and frankly, ultimately the Presidency. This insurgency and uprising was not created by President Trump. He rode that wave, he helped to increase that wave, but he can easily turn that wave against him. And I would say bring those challenges on because the people will stand against him on those challenges.”
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