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Trump talks health care with Republican critic on golf course

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)(L) gets into a vehicle with U.S. President Donald Trump before departing the White House in Washington, April 2, 2017. REUTERS / Joshua Roberts

STERLING, VA. - President Donald Trump golfed with a vocal Republican critic of his health care push on Sunday, as he insisted efforts to repeal and replace President Barack Obama's signature health care law were not dead.

Senator Rand Paul and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney joined the president at Trump National Golf Club outside of Washington.

The trio were "discussing a variety of topics, including health care," said White House Deputy Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham.

The outing came hours after Trump tweeted that talks to rework the nation's health care law were still underway.

"Anybody (especially Fake News media) who thinks that Repeal & Replace of ObamaCare is dead does not know the love and strength in R Party!" Trump tweeted early on Sunday.

"Talk on Repealing and Replacing ObamaCare are, and have been, going on, and will continue until such time as a deal is hopefully struck," he added in a second message.

Republican-led efforts to replace Obama's health care law were thrown into disarray 10 days ago after Republican leaders in the House of Representative had to withdraw their own legislation ahead of a vote due to insufficient support from conservative and moderate members of their own party.

Trump had worked toward the bill's passage, but Paul had been a prominent critic and had aligned himself with the conservative House Freedom Caucus, a group that helped torpedoTrump's first major legislative effort.

On Thursday, Trump had threatened to defeat members of the group in next year's congressional elections if they continued to defy him.