The Corner

Politics & Policy

Trump’s Threat Against the Freedom Caucus

As I noted in my column today, Trump and the Freedom Caucus don’t have much in common except their hatred of the establishment — he’s a populist deal-maker; they’re conservative purists. So it’s understandable that there is a divorce here, but Trump’s threat on Twitter this morning is obviously not thought through and is unlikely to have any follow-up:

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!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 30, 2017

Overall the pile-on against the Freedom Caucus from all corners over the last week, ranging from the Wall Street Journal to Paul Ryan to Trump himself, has been unwarranted. It’s reminiscent of the establishment sentiment in the primaries that Trump would be more reasonable than Ted Cruz. To be sure, the Freedom Caucus can be prone to self-defeating tactical maximalism, but on the health-care bill, it was right — the legislation was neither a full repeal of Obamacare nor sound policy.

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