House leadership has been hoping that President Trump would turn the screws on the Freedom Caucus. They'd love nothing more than for Trump to threaten Freedom Caucus members like Mark Meadows with primary challenges. In fact, they were banking on Trump doing that. They thought he could break the Freedom Caucus.Here's the photo that accompanies this:
The emerging reality: Trump is doing nothing of the sort. He was joking when he told Meadows in the GOP conference meeting earlier this week that he'd come after him. And in today's White House meeting Trump did not brow-beat the Freedom Caucus members or make a hard sell on a "final offer."
According to three sources in the room for the meeting, Trump didn't demand loyalty tests, and there was lots of laughing, jokes, and stories.
I'm sure few in the GOP expected Trump to be a policy wonk, especially on health care, but they thought he would be a barracuda in the conference room. Instead, it appears that he's thinking, Look at me. I'm the president! All these people I've seen on Fox want to talk to me about important matters like health care! He's not a dealmaker -- he's starstruck. He can't believe he is where he is. He just wants to rub elbows with all the D.C. celebrities.
Trump is still very good at protecting his own ass. He's be a ruthless SOB when the task at hand is to take care of #1. This? He's not so good at it..