White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday that Republicans who vote against President Donald Trump’s preferred bill to replace Obamacare would “pay a price at home.”
“I think they’ll probably pay a price at home,” Spicer said during a press briefing Tuesday. He was asked if Republican members of Congress who voted against the American Health Care Act would “pay a price” for their “no” votes.
“Yeah, I think there’s going to be a price to be paid, but it’s going to be with their own voters, and they’re going to have to go back and explain to them why they made a commitment to them and then didn’t follow through,” he added later.
Members of Congress who met with Trump Tuesday said he threatened them with primary challengers if they didn’t vote for the bill.
“He said, ‘Y’all ran on repealing Obamacare. Looks like you’d be ripe for a primary if you don’t keep your promise,'” Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) said. “And I think he made the sale. I think he moved a handful of votes. We know we have a historic opportunity to get stuff done, and we can’t blow it. I’d hate to go back home to Texas and say I had the opportunity to repeal Obamacare and I didn’t.”
Spicer framed it differently, saying that Trump had promised to support Republicans who backed the bill. But he later said “it’s a political reality” that Republicans would pay a price for not supporting the bill.
“This is something that, as a party, we’ve made very clear,” he said. “If you give us this, American people, we will get this done. And I think that to go and make a promise and a pledge of this magnitude, and not to follow it through, I’m sure voters will be upset.”