Freedom Caucus ally Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) told Poppy Harlow of CNN that he thought President Trump was bluffing on working with the Democrats on his agenda items after the health care bill he backed was defeated partially by the caucus. He made the comments Friday.
"Are you as worried as your Speaker Paul Ryan is about this president working with Dems?" Harlow asked.
"I think thats a bluff," Massie responded, "You know the president bluffed several times last week. He said there was gonna be a vote, whether it passed or failed. Well that didn't happen."
"He also said that negotiations are over," Massie explained, "well, that clearly wasn't true. And so, you know, I think this is just another one of his bluffs. Because within 12 hours he lashed back out at the Democrats, in that same tweet. So I just don't see how he gets to 218 if he tries to alienate everybody."
Massie referred to the 218 vote threshold in the House of Representatives that the "American Health Care Act" failed to meet.
"Are you calling the president a liar?" Harlow asked.
"No, he's a good negotiator," Massie laughed, "and sometimes you bluff in a negotiation. And we called his bluff last week. He also said we're done working on health care, that's obviously not true, this week. We can't just give up and go home. We made a promise to fix this. Obamacare is a disaster."
"Have you had any conversations with the White House," Harlow added, "or anyone in the White House about health care since the bill was pulled Friday?"
"I have not," Marlow said, "other than the twitter exchange that we've had."
"Alright, you guys love your twitter," she said dismissively.
— Poppy Harlow (@PoppyHarlowCNN) March 31, 2017
Rep. Massie warned Trump that if the "American Health Care Act" had passed, that it would have been so unpopular that it would have made him a one-term president. He was also not afraid to strike back at Trump when he blamed the Freedom Caucus after the bill's failure.
He claimed that prices would have gone up quicker under the bill than under Obamacare, another reason he said he would have voted against it.
Trump has said previously that his plan was to let Obamacare continue to collapse until the political pressure forced Democrats to come to him looking for a deal. Others have blamed the GOP leadership for drafting what they see as a weak bill with little collaboration during its composition.
[Ed. Note: Rep. Massie's office reached out to us to clarify that he is an ally of the Freedom Caucus and not a formal member. The post has been edited to reflect this correction. We regret the error.]