Trump Wades Into Healthcare Fight Amid Wavering Republican Support

After weeks of staying on the sidelines of the Senate's Obamacare reform talks, President Trump dived into the debate this week with a characteristic mix of disciplined negotiating tactics and off-message detours.

Trump's increased role in promoting the healthcare legislation came as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell headed into a weeklong recess with his caucus fractured and the fate of his Obamacare repeal measure uncertain.

But the president's personal involvement has not come without its disruptions. Trump rankled GOP leadership Friday when he tweeted support for a healthcare strategy that would involve repealing Obamacare immediately and replacing it later with a new system — an approach he had personally criticized in the past and one that is favored only by the most conservative members of Congress.

"Senate Republicans recognize that this a put-up or shut-up moment, and yet they are still gripped by inaction and are unable to do their job," said Ford O'Connell, a GOP strategist. "So, frankly, President Trump attempting to provide them cover to pass anything possible is certainly a welcome development."

O'Connell suggested the Republicans' inability to agree on a piece of legislation this week despite a full-court press from the Trump administration could demonstrate just how sharply the GOP is divided on healthcare.

"The fact that Senate Republicans are still not able to reach a verbal consensus shows the limits of White House power and how deep the rift is on this issue within the GOP Senate caucus," he said.

Read more from Sarah Westwood at the Washington Examiner

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