One of President Trump’s defining characteristics is his appetite for revenge. A recent example has occurred following the multiple headaches that the House Freedom Caucus caused for the Republican establishment’s healthcare reform bill this spring.
Trump repeatedly criticized their principled stand against Obamacare-lite, and hasn’t forgotten his grudge over the past few months.
Now, Trump has endorsed sitting Sen Luther Strange in the Alabama Senate, race thereby passing over Freedom Caucus member Rep. Mo Brooks, who is challenging Strange for the seat. The endorsement all-but- eliminates Brooks from the running.
Luther Strange was appointed by the governor of Alabama to fill the seat left vacant by Jeff Sessions when he became Attorney General. Before his appointment, Strange had served as the Attorney General of Alabama for the six years. Before that, he ran for lieutenant governor and won the Republican primary, but lost the general election in 2006.
A religiously conservative Alabama Republican, over the past two months Strange has toed the party line and followed Mitch McConnell’s guidance closely. He’s supported the establishment Republican healthcare plan without question, even when it included funding for Planned Parenthood. That was a major sticking point for the House Freedom Caucus.
Brooks, currently challenging Strange in the Republican primary on August 15, opposed Obamacare-lite from the onset. He was one of the last holdouts but eventually came around when the Freedom Caucus reworked and endorsed the AHCA.
Unfortunately for Brooks, by that time the caucus had already drawn the ire of President Trump.
With the grudge against the Freedom Caucus already set in stone, it wasn’t much of a surprise when the President endorsed Luther Strange on Twitter. But while Trump may have meant the endorsement a warning, it came off as more of an insult.
Conservatives who supported Brooks have once again been shown that their policies come second to president: Principles can’t be allowed to stand in the way of support for Donald Trump.
(Photo of Donald Trump speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2011 by Gage Skidmore used with permission.)