Trump, on Twitter Rampage, Threatens Republican Group

The president promised to “fight” the Freedom Caucus—and alter libel laws.

Carlos Barria/Reuters/ZUMA

President Donald Trump took a swipe at the House Freedom Caucus on Thursday, threatening on Twitter to “fight” the hard-line conservative Republican group if its members fail to get in line with his agenda.

The unusual move to target lawmakers in his own party comes less than a week after the failure of a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Freedom Caucus members had petitioned the president to make deeper cuts to Obamacare. That prospect alarmed more moderate Republicans who were already wavering in their support for the legislation, and the bill was pulled from consideration.

After attacking the House Freedom Caucus, Trump turned his aim to one of his favorite Twitter targets, blasting the New York Times and suggesting libel laws be changed to make it easier to sue the paper for coverage he has routinely deemed unfair.

Trump initially blamed Democrats for the health care bill’s failure. He also encouraged his supporters to watch a Fox News segment that urged House Speaker Paul Ryan to resign amid the fallout.

On Thursday, Ryan said that Trump called him to apologize, claiming he “had no idea” that the segment would be critical of Ryan.