KHN Morning Briefing

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An Unlikely Duo: How Trump And Paul Are Teaming Up And Undermining GOP Leadership

Former rivals, President Donald Trump and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), are presenting a somewhat unified front on health care efforts that don't always align with the stance of Republican leaders on Capitol Hill.

Politico: Rand And Donald’s Wild Health Care Ride
After a bitter rivalry during the 2016 presidential campaign, Sen. Rand Paul and President Donald Trump just can’t quit each other. And they are teaming up to confound everyone in Washington on the GOP’s attempts to repeal Obamacare. After Paul dubbed candidate Trump an “orange-faced windbag” and Trump questioned whether candidate Paul had a “properly functioning brain,” the two have begun to build a strong relationship. Trump has expended major energy courting Paul and they’ve developed what Paul calls a “good rapport.” They’ve played golf and chat regularly on the phone. (Everett and Dawsey, 7/7)

Meanwhile, one senator blames the fact that no one believed Trump was going to win on why the Republican efforts are a mess —

USA Today: Sen. Pat Toomey On Health Care Delay: I Didn't Think Trump Would Win Presidency
Republicans are struggling to pass a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and one GOP Senator has a possible explanation for the holdup — albeit not a new one. "I didn't expect Donald Trump to win. I think most of my colleagues didn't. So we didn't expect to be in this situation," Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said Wednesday. Toomey's blunt answer came during a televised town hall in response to a question from an ABC news anchor about why the health bill has not passed given how vehemently Republicans have opposed the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. (Miller, 7/6)

The Washington Post: One Reason The GOP Health Bill Is A Mess: No One Thought Trump Would Win
Toomey, now playing a critical role in negotiations over the GOP health-care bill, spent most of last year criticizing Trump’s personal behavior and the fights he picked on social media. Toomey did not announce his support for Trump’s candidacy until polls closed in Pennsylvania on Nov. 8, fully aware that no Republican presidential candidate had won his state since 1988 — and assuming that Trump would continue the streak. (Kane, 7/6)

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