Charles Krauthammer said Tuesday that if the conservative House Freedom caucus decides to "take down" Speaker Paul Ryan's ObamaCare replacement bill, it will greatly damage the president and his party.
Krauthammer said on "Special Report" that the fate of the House bill depends on whether the caucus, led by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-North Carolina), decides to vote to approve it.
If they vote against it, "the injury to the Republicans and to the Trump administration is going to be incalculable," he said.
Republicans must pass the bill through the House in order to keep their credibility with the voters, he said.
While Ryan is trying to "obey all the rules," Krauthammer said "cynical" Senate Republicans could then choose to pack their version of the bill full of everything conservatives want, and dare Democrats to filibuster it.
Krauthammer said in that case, Republicans can say they tried to repeal-and-replace ObamaCare, and blame the Democrats when the entire ObamaCare system eventually collapses.
Because of "reconciliation" rules, the process by which a bill can be passed with 51 rather than 60 votes in the Senate, not all of the measures the Freedom Caucus and conservatives want to include can be part of the bill.
With Ryan abiding by all normal rules of reconciliation, the Democrats may currently have the "upper hand" on the narrative, Krauthammer said.