Mike Pence Brought Members Of Freedom Caucus To Tears During AHCA Debate

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Donald Trump tapped Mike Pence as his running mate in mid-2016, and ever since Trump took the White House in early 2017, the former Indiana Governor has kept a low profile. This low profile is not for lack of him actually doing things, however, and a new POLITICO profile of Pence reveals a testy event earlier this year helps underscore this fact.

On March 24, the American Health Care Act was set for what would become its first attempt at a vote in the House of Representatives. The AHCA represented the culmination of the GOP’s many years of effort to get the ACA repealed.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that tens of millions of people would lose their healthcare should it pass, but that wasn’t enough for some Republicans, who effectively wanted even more people to lose their healthcare. These Republicans, members of the House Freedom Caucus, said the bill wasn’t conservative enough for their liking, keeping too many of the ACA’s defining regulations in place.

Thus, they wouldn’t support it until it was, at the time, too late. In March, while Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was at the White House pleading with the president to let him withdraw the AHCA before it came up for a vote, the Freedom Caucus held a private meeting.

POLITICO says that “nobody seems to know” how Pence found out where the Freedom Caucus was meeting that day, but he did. He showed up to that meeting and reamed them all for not supporting the bill, saying:

‘I was the Freedom Caucus before the Freedom Caucus existed. Don’t try to tell me this bill isn’t conservative enough.’

Next comes the real kicker. POLITICO reports, based on reports from individuals who were, presumably, present at that meeting, that several of the Congressmen who had gotten a verbal lashing from VP Pence broke into tears.

Yes, really.

Perhaps they would like to offer up the same defense of themselves as Trump has offered? Earlier this year, the president told a reporter that the presidency was harder than he imagined it would be, and at that moment, the entire country muttered a quiet, “Thank you, Captain Obvious.”

After Pence burst in on their meeting, a number of members of the House Freedom Caucus said they’d support that version of the AHCA, but it was too late. Speaker Ryan’s coalition of moderates had broken down and the bill was pulled.

An anonymous senior Trump administration aide described Pence’s role in the Trump White House as follows to POLITICO reporter Tim Alberta:

‘Think about this. The president likes people who don’t showboat, who don’t call attention to themselves. And the president loves killers — he loves people who get things done. Mike Pence is the quiet killer in this White House. And Trump loves him for it.’

Pence, with a massive political career behind him, has at least one thing in his favor — he knows what he’s doing from a practical perspective.

POLITICO says that Trump offered the job of VP to Pence under the pretense of him becoming, in Trump’s words, “the most consequential vice president ever,” and time will tell whether Pence lives up to that, although if he does, it will almost certainly mean bad things for America.

Featured Image via Joe Raedle/Getty Images