The Freedom Caucus, however, has clearly found a sympathetic ear in Trump’s right-hand man Bannon, who wants conservatives to be included in the legislative process instead of twisting their arms to vote yes. The fledgling alliance has given the group newfound hope that they can win the White House over to their side — or, at least, that Trump won’t blame them if Obamacare repeal implodes.
“The last thing I want is for the president to be mad at me,” Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows told POLITICO in a brief interview on Thursday. “He asked me to negotiate in good faith, so I have been working around the clock to negotiate in good faith, reaching out to people that I would not normally reach out to. He understands that no one wants a deal more than me.”
Allies of Ryan say the speaker can’t possibly agree to everything that conservatives are requesting, and they don’t believe Meadows and the Freedom Caucus have engaged in good faith. They also argue that Ryan, at the White House’s behest, is trying to incorporate their wishes while still getting the bill passed within a week.
But for months, conservatives have complained that GOP leaders aren’t listening to them. That’s why Meadows (R-N.C.), who declined to divulge details of his talks with the White House, and other conservatives have circumvented leadership and taken their case to the White House. Trump has essentially become the middleman between warring House GOP factions.