The inside story of how Trump tried -- and failed -- to make a deal on health care

Trump also sought leverage by surprising members with cold calls. Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) was at home near Richmond one day last week, moving boxes into his car, when his cellphone rang.

“Someone came on with this very formal voice and said, ‘Please hold for the president of the United States,’ ” Brat recalled. But when Trump got on the line, the president could not have been less formal, Brat said. “He goes, ‘C’mon, Brat, what’s going on with this thing?’ ”

“I said, ‘I want you to be a success, but the price has to come down,’ ” Brat said. “But he puts on the hard sell. He’s selling. The salesman in sell mode. On that, he’s the best. Humor, heart, personality.”

Trump ended the call with a plea: “Dave, c’mon, we’re going to get it right.” But Brat was unmoved. “I get it,” he said he told the president, “but I couldn’t get behind it.”