By Mallory Shelbourne - 03-25-17 09:45 AM EDT
President Trump avoided discussing policy details during a Thursday meeting with the House Freedom Caucus on the ObamaCare repeal bill, Politico reported Saturday.
Trump met with members of the ultra-conservative lawmaker group in his push to whip up votes for the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The bill would have fulfilled the GOP's longtime campaign promise to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
The AHCA ran into trouble with House conservatives, who wanted it to go further in taking apart President Obama's law and were hoping for specific policy concessions from Trump.
"Forget about the little s--t," Trump reportedly told the Freedom Caucus on Thursday. "Let's focus on the big picture here."
One day later, Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) decided to pull the legislation moments before a planned House floor vote after it became clear it would not pass. Most Freedom Caucus members indicated they wouldn't back the bill, as did a number of centrist Republicans.
Freedom Caucus members reportedly were unhappy with Trump earlier in the week when he referenced the group's chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) during a meeting with the full House GOP conference.
Trump reportedly said during the meeting that he thought Meadows "will get on board" and jokingly warned that he might "go after" him if not.
"That was the biggest mistake the president could have made," a Freedom Caucus member told Politico. "Mark desperately wanted to get to yes, and Trump made it impossible for him. If he flipped after that he would look incredibly weak."
Trump also singled out the Freedom Caucus in a tweet Friday morning, arguing that vote against the GOP plan would keep funding for Planned Parenthood.
"The irony is that the Freedom Caucus, which is very pro-life and against Planned Parenthood, allows P.P. to continue if they stop this plan!" Trump wrote.