Kentucky becoming a battleground in national healthcare debate

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – In the ongoing debate over American healthcare, the White House appears to have chosen Kentucky as its battleground.

Scott Jennings, a Louisville-based Republican strategist and former George W. Bush appointee, said the Commonwealth's connection to healthcare reform is clear:  Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rand Paul.

Both Kentucky senators are very influential in the debate. The rise and fall of Trump’s legislative agenda will heavily rely on McConnell’s ability to get it through the Senate and Paul has been an outspoken, national voice of opposition to the plan.

"I really think it's about sending a message to other house Republicans, frankly, and other people who may be on the ballot in two or four years, that if you want to tango with Donald Trump's White House you're going to have to put up with him coming to your community and possibly counter messaging against you,” Jennings said.

So why Louisville? After all, Kentucky’s largest city isn’t exactly rolling out the welcome mat.

Congressman John Yarmuth and Mayor Greg Fischer have both said they will not attend Trump's rally and Fischer will reportedly not greet the President when he arrives.

“I'm a little surprised that the mayor wouldn't show up to shake hands with the President of the United States upon arrival in his city,” said Jennings. “I'm not at all surprised about Congressman John Yarmuth, given his stark political opposition to the President’s agenda."

Fischer’s spokesperson did not confirm whether the mayor would greet the President Monday when he arrives in Louisville.

Jennings said choosing Louisville as the location for the rally “makes a lot of sense” for various reasons. Compared to other Kentucky cities, Louisville gives supporters the best chance to see the President in person and offers the biggest venues for Trump’s large, campaign-style rally. Louisville International Airport is also one of the few places Air Force One can land in the Commonwealth.

The rally will be held March 20 at the Kentucky Exposition Center. It is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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