President Donald Trump appears to be putting the blame of the failure of the American Health Care Act that he backed on the Freedom Caucus, and Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) is pushing back. Amash told reporters that the president acted like a fifth-grade child Thursday.
“Most people don’t take too well to being bullied,” he told reporters, laughing.
“Do you think this is an actual negotiating tactic by the president,” a reporter asked, “though, or do you think is this a constructive way to do it?”
“I mean it’s constructive in fifth grade,” Amash answered after carefully considering the question. “It may allow a child to get his way, but that’s not how our government works.”
Amash was responding to recent tweets by the president attacking the Freedom Caucus as being the culprit behind the failure of the health care bill that Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) developed to fulfill campaign promises to “repeal and replace” Obamacare.
Trump took to Twitter to blame the group and make what appeared to be a threat to unseat them in the 2018 midterm elections. Some Trump allies, like Newt Gingrich, blamed the GOP leadership and especially Ryan for presenting a weak bill and not allowing enough input from dissenting voices.
Amash responded earlier by tweet as well, saying, “It didn’t take long for the swamp to drain @realDonaldTrump. No shame, Mr. President. Almost everyone succumbs to the D.C. Establishment.”
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) March 30, 2017
Meanwhile, Ryan said that he could understand why Trump is frustrated, but warned against working with Democrats as that would result in legislation where health care is controlled by the government instead of the patient and doctors.
The bill failed after the Freedom Caucus opposed it for being too accommodating to the legislation it was supposed to be replacing, former President Obama’s signature accomplishment. Supporters of the bill postponed the vote for one day to change the bill, but after finding that it was losing support from moderate Republicans, they abandoned the effort altogether.
Trump has said his new strategy was to let Obamacare collapse and “explode” on its own in anticipation of Democrats coming to him for a deal to escape the political backlash.
Amash has been a critic of Trump before this latest altercation, most notably when he called on Trump to “drain the swamp” of his own foreign entanglements.