GOP Rep. Says It’s Hard To Know What Trump Wants When Negotiating

Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va.,  a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, explains his position to a TV interviewer before his group meets with President Donald Trump as the GOP's long-promised legislation to repeal and replace "Obamacare" moves to a showdown vote, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, March 23, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Rep. David Brat (R-VA), a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus who was part of the recent negotiations on the bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said on Wednesday that it can be challenging to negotiate with President Donald Trump because it’s hard to tell what he’s thinking.

“He’s very good, but you don’t know what the deal is he’s got in his mind,” Brat told New York Magazine about Trump’s negotiating style. “So that’s, like, are we in, like, the middle of a negotiating thing? Or is he at the end of it? Or is he at the beginning of it? And you don’t know, right? So that’s the hard part for us, we’re like, ‘We think he wants this, but we know how he negotiates, so where are we?'”

Later in the interview, Brat again said that it’s hard to decipher what Trump is looking for in legislation and indicated that the President is not focused on details.

“I mean, you know strategically, roughly, what he wants. But in this city, roughly’s not it. He’s big picture: ‘Look, repeal Obamacare, replace it with something that makes some sense.’ But then when you get down in the weeds in our conference, and the Senate hasn’t even weighed in yet … and he’s like, ‘Are you kidding, you guys are arguing over that? When this is the goal?’ And I think he’s amazed,” Brat told New York Magazine.

Brat said that Trump acted similarly on the budget process, and that he will go into future negotiations with more details in mind.

“He’s learned that if you don’t weigh in, that what comes out of the sausage factory is not always pretty,” Brat said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.
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