DENVER – After chiding a conservative group of congressmen for helping upend the House plan to replace Obamacare for the past week, President Donald Trump on Thursday cozied up to one of its members: Colorado’s Republican Rep. Ken Buck.
Buck had sent several tweets earlier in the day urging the reconsideration of the American Health Care Act, which was pulled from consideration last week after it failed to get near enough votes to pass a hastily-ordered full House vote.
“Our duty to the American people is to improve upon the current healthcare mess. That’s why I support the AHCA,” Buck tweeted in the first of a series of tweets linking to his op-ed.
“Yes, I’m a conservative. I pal around with those liberty-loving Freedom Caucus guys…And frankly, if you asked the Speaker [House Speaker Paul Ryan], I think he’d tell you I’m a bit of a right-wind rabble-rouser,” Buck wrote in the article.
Buck originally was stand-offish about supporting the AHCA, but ended up supporting it despite a formal vote never being taken. He noted his fluid position in the article as well.
“I’ll be clear: I criticized the process we followed to arrive at this bill. We went too fast. We held hearings, but they were not recent and failed to create a consensus in this country. We left our important provisions,” he wrote. “But ultimately, this bill was worth supporting.”
“Transitioning from an opposition party to the governing party can come with growing pains. But if we want to achieve our principled outcomes, like the end of ObamaCare and its replacement with a free-market system, then we have to learn how to come together as a party and govern,” he continued in his article. “And governing means supporting the AHCA. I supported it, will continue to support it, and encourage my colleagues to support it as well.”
Buck is one of few Freedom Caucus members who has extended an olive branch back to the president after a heated fight over the health care bill, and after praising Buck, he minutes later slammed three other Freedom Caucus members who have been critical of the president – including the chair of the caucus.
“Where are @RepMarkMeadows, @Jim_Jordan and @Raul-Labrador? #RepealANDReplace #Obamacare,” the president tweeted just after giving a nudge to Buck’s op-ed.
“If @RepMarkMeadows, @Jim_Jordan and @Raul_Labrador would get on board we would have both great healthcare and massive tax cuts & reform,” he followed up.
Meadows is the chairman of the caucus. Neither he nor Jordan have issued further statements since the bill was pulled last week.
But had the president checked Labrador’s Twitter account, he would know how the Idaho congressman was feeling.
“Intimidation may work with some in the short term, but it never really works in the long run…What you can’t do is shoot messengers,” Rep. Mark Sanford, R-South Carolina, told the New York Times.
“Most people don’t take well to being bullied…It’s constructive in fifth grade,” Rep. Justin Amash, R-Michigan, told The Times. “It may allow a child to get his way. But that’s not how our government works.”
Kyle Huwa, the spokesman for Buck’s office, told Denver7 that Buck decided Friday that he would vote for the bill, had one been taken. He told CNN earlier in the week he was “leaning no” on the bill, but changed his mind by Friday, Huwa said.