Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said he was still optimistic for the repeal of Obamacare after being one of the foremost critics that helped defeat the GOP replacement bill Friday. He also talked about how he encouraged the Freedom Caucus to defeat the bill by using tips from President Trump's book, "The Art of the Deal."
He made the comments to Eric Bolling on Fox News.
"I want to show our audience a little piece of tape from earlier in the week," Bolling said, "where you actually went to the House Freedom Caucus side, and I guess you were teaching them the 'Art of the Deal.'"
"I brought you all a gift tonight," Paul said to the Freedom Caucus. "'The Art of the Deal.' I do think it's important as we go into this that we realize we have enormous power, actually you guys, have enormous power if you stick together. I put up a quote from the Art of the Deal that I thought was appropriate. 'The worst thing you can possible do in a deal is to seem desperate to make it. That makes the other guy smell blood, and then you're dead.'"
"And so," Bolling asked, "is the lesson to be learned here that don't accept the first deal, but bring another one?"
"Well, these were Donald Trump's words," Paul answered. "Don't be desperate to make a deal. But at the same time, what I would add to that is that we are open to making a deal and we still are open. Conservatives across the country want to repeal Obamacare."
"Unfortunately, as the House leadership brought this forward," he explained, "they brought repeal and replace with Obamacare lite. Nobody ran on that, and no conservative across the land wants it. We could start over with repeal as the basis, and actually some of the ideas, look I love the fact that Speaker brought up the association plans last week."
Paul also explained what he called, "one of the most unreported stories of the week," that could push Republicans closer to repeal.
You know I think the Freedom Caucus wants what all conservatives want, and that is a repeal of Obamacare that ultimately lowers the price of insurance for people. If you look at the number one problem of Obamacare, it's the people in the individual market go out to buy insurance, and the premiums are soaring through the roof, that's the real problem.
And that's why what I promoted as the number one replacement is letting people join buying groups. And one of the unreported stories of this week is the House of Representatives actually passed my replacement version or a similar version, for letting people join buying groups, or co-ops to bring prices down.
"What I'm advising Senator McConnell and the leadership is," he concluded, "that bill should be brought up next week. This is a bill that is a big part of replacement. We should bring it up next week and see how the Democrats respond to that."
Trump said in remarks from the White House that he was moving on to tax reform and would allow Obamacare to collapse. Rather than reach out to Democrats on a bipartisan basis, he said they would run to him when they saw how former President Obama's signature bill would continue to implode and hurt Americans.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Friday after the bill was defeated that Democrats were willing to work with the president to fix Obamacare, but only if they gave up on repealing it.