Rep. Ted Poe leaves Freedom Caucus amid Trump recriminations for health care failure.

Freedom Caucus Loses Member Amid Trump Recriminations for Health Care Failure

Freedom Caucus Loses Member Amid Trump Recriminations for Health Care Failure

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March 26 2017 7:39 PM

Freedom Caucus Loses Member Amid Trump Criticism for Health Care  

Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, talks outside the U.S. Capitol on May 20, 2014, in Washington.

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At least one member of the House Freedom Caucus seems to agree with President Donald Trump that the conservative coalition was at least partly responsible for the embarrassing failure of Trumpcare. Rep. Ted Poe of Texas publicly stepped down from the House Freedom Caucus on Sunday with words that were likely music to the president’s ears.

"In order to deliver on the conservative agenda we have promised the American people for eight years, we must come together to find solutions to move this country forward," Poe said in a statement. "Saying no is easy, leading is hard, but that is what we were elected to do. Leaving this caucus will allow me to be a more effective member of Congress and advocate for the people of Texas. It is time to lead."


Some Republican leaders are betting that others will follow Poe’s lead. "I feel like they've ostracized themselves like they haven't ever done before," a “GOP leadership aide” told CNN. "I think this could be a breaking point for the membership of the Freedom Caucus."

Poe’s resignation came mere hours after Trump took to Twitter to blame the Freedom Caucus, along with other conservative groups, for having “saved Planned Parenthood & Ocare!”

Trump was hardly alone. Rep. Pete King of New York also blamed the Freedom Caucus for the president’s first big legislative failure. “The conservative group was insisting on virtually a total repeal of Obamacare, which sounds good," King told radio host John Catsimatidis on AM 970 in New York. "You can't end that overnight." Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia got more personal, saying the group’s chairman “betrayed Trump and America and supported [House Democratic leader Nancy] Pelosi and Dems to protect Obamacare.”

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.