Stop me if you've heard this one before: On Thursday morning the president got on Twitter and said something that riled everyone up. This time, Donald Trump was taking aim at the Freedom Caucus, the group of hard-right conservatives in the House who recently helped kill the Republican healthcare bill because they didn't think it'd do enough to get the government out of the healthcare system.
Trump has reason to be angry that members of his own party handed him a defeat of course, but it's not exactly clear how he's going to "fight" them. Members of the Freedom Caucus, which has become famous in the past few of years for opposing moderate Republicans as well as Democrats, come from very conservative districts and likely aren't too worried about Trump attempting to push them out of Congress. They are more than comfortable being outsiders pushing back against the powers that be and painting themselves as rebels.
Thursday morning, Freedom Caucus member Justin Amash hit back by openly mocking Trump for becoming co-opted by the DC establishment; his colleague David Brat smiled through a CNN interview and had no regrets about working to derail an unpopular healthcare bill.
"Everyone is saying we saved the Republican conference," he said.
Though both sides of this spat have launched rebellions against the Republican establishment—the Freedom Caucus by unseating former Speaker of the House John Boehner, Trump by beating all those career politicians to become the presidential nominee—they aren't ideologically aligned, as conservative writer Rich Lowry pointed out this week.
"Trump is more naturally an ally of the moderate Tuesday Group, except with a flame-throwing Twitter feed," Lowry said in Politico. And that was written before the president turned his fire to the most prominent House conservatives.
If Trump's policy matched his campaign rhetoric, he might have endorsed a more left-leaning healthcare plan that gave insurance to more people—a policy some of his voters would have embraced, and which might have attracted Democrats. Instead, he supported Speaker Paul Ryan's bill, which was despised by both the left and the Freedom Caucus.
A different president might pause and reassess why that bill stunk up the joint, and maybe even reassess how to build a coalition that could actually pass a bill. Instead, Trump is attacking politicians to his right and his left—which makes for a fun morning of reactions, but doesn't get anything done.
Follow Harry Cheadle on Twitter.