Freedom Caucus' Jordan: Tweets and blame 'don't change facts'

Freedom Caucus member responds to Trump
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Freedom Caucus member responds to Trump 02:42

Story highlights

  • Jordan said consideration of any future health care bill needs to be a more open process
  • Asked about possible primary challenges, Jordan said, 'If that's what happens, that's what happens'

Washington (CNN)One of President Donald Trump's top targets didn't budge Sunday from his opposition to the failed Republican health care bill in the face of multiple critical tweets from President Donald Trump since the defeat of the proposal, saying the legislation was both bad policy and massively unpopular.

"Tweets and statements and blame don't change facts," Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, told Jake Tapper on CNN's "State of the Union."
Citing a recent Quinnipiac University poll, Jordan asked incredulously, "When have you seen a bill come forward where only 17% of the country supports it?"
    Trump took to Twitter on Thursday to call out Jordan, the former chairman of the conservative House group, as well as its current leader, Mark Meadows of North Carolina and fellow member Raul Labrador of Idaho over their opposition to the now-defunct GOP plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's signature health care program.
    On Saturday, the White House's social media director, Dan Scavino, also went after another Freedom Caucus member, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, saying Trump's supporters should drive him out of office in the next primary election.
    Amash responded shortly afterward by tweeting that Trump had become like the very political establishment that he campaigned against and the caucus has opposed.
    Jordan defended Amash on Sunday and said he would come to his aid in a primary challenge.
    "Justin Amash is a good friend and one of the most principled members of Congress," Jordan said. "And, frankly, if he is primaried, I'm going to do everything I can to help him.
    Richard Painter, a White House ethics lawyer under former President George W. Bush, tweeted that Scavino's call to action violated the Hatch Act by using his government position to influence an election, saying the Bush administration would have fired him for such behavior.
    Scavino responded Sunday afternoon to comments from ethics lawyers, such as Painter, on the issue by tweeting from his personal Twitter account, "What 'ethics lawyers?' The ones from the Obama Admin who want to take Trump down, or the Bush Admin who were #NeverTrump? No thanks!"
    He also made a tweak to his Twitter bio, removing the reference to his current White House position and substituting in his role as social media director for Trump's campaign.

    Questioning process

    Asked Sunday about the primary threats that those who opposed the GOP health care proposal, including himself, could face, Jordan said, "If that's what happens, that's what happens."
    Republicans needed to get back together on a health care bill that repealed Obamacare, he said, adding that the process needed to be more open next time and include input from interest groups and average citizens.
    "Why not actually have doctors come in and testify, maybe hospitals testify, or maybe just some regular American families who this bill's gonna impact," Jordan said. "Why not have that kind of process take place?"
    On Sunday, just a day after Scavino's call to take down Amash, Trump tweeted that those who think the GOP health care proposal is dead don't know the "love and strength" of the Republican Party and said talks to repeal and replace Obamacare will continue.
    The tweets came as something of a public shift for Trump. After House Speaker Paul Ryan pulled the bill in March amid opposition from conservative and moderate corners of the Republican Party, the Wisconsin Republican said Obamacare would remain the law of the land for the foreseeable future, and Trump said he would move on, likely to tax reform, until Obamacare "explodes."
    Trump spent part of his Sunday playing a game of golf and talking health care with Sen. Rand Paul, according to a White House spokeswoman. The Kentucky Republican was among the most vocal opponents of the now-defunct health care bill.