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Art of the troll

Trump targets Freedom Caucus: Pass my health bill or keep funding Planned Parenthood

Trump trolls Republicans: Pass my health bill or keep funding Planned Parenthood

In the final hours before the House was scheduled to vote on his Obamacare replacement, President Trump took to Twitter with a veiled threat: Pass the bill Friday or leave funding for Planned Parenthood in place.

The tweet was directed at the Freedom Caucus, the group of ultra-conservative Republicans whose roughly 30 members oppose the bill for being too similar to Obamacare, and that Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan have sought to win over.

Trump pointed out the so-called “irony” of the Freedom Caucus members’ fight against the bill, since it defunds Planned Parenthood — something many of them have long tried to do.

But the Freedom Caucus’ objections to the bill are not about Planned Parenthood;  they’re largely about insurance premiums. Caucus members met with Trump Thursday to negotiate the bill, and in a rule written overnight, the caucus got at least part of their wish: The bill will no longer guarantee areas of coverage that the Affordable Care deemed “essential health benefits,” such as prescription drugs, maternity care, and mental health services.

But evidently, Trump and the Freedom Caucus still haven’t resolved their differences.

These changes may also alienate more-moderate Republicans, who often worry about the millions of Americans estimated to lose coverage if the Republican health care plan passes.

If more than 22 Republicans vote “no” on the bill, it won’t pass.

But the art of the deal apparently calls for more than just one trollish tweet. Another Trump tweet this morning didn’t target a specific group, but was no less pointed in its message:

Trump also tweeted out a plea Wednesday for Americans to call their representatives in support of the bill.

House representatives are spending Friday debating the bill, but Americans won’t find out if Trump’s tweets worked until 5 p.m. Friday, when a vote on the bill is tentatively scheduled. (Though it may still be cancelled.)

But at least one member of the Freedom Caucus has already promised not to vote for the amended bill, according to Trump’s preferred mode of communication:

 

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