During an interview on the "Powerhouse Politics" podcast, Coburn explained to ABC News' Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and Political Director Rick Klein, why he believes the president gets a thumb's up from the same voters who find his personality abhorrent.
"They still don’t like him," Coburn said. "What they do like is what he’s done on regulation. They are going to like what he’s done on taxes, the vast majority of them, and they are going to like what he ends up getting done on immigration. And so they didn’t vote for someone who is a deal-maker. They voted for someone to do things different.”
And in a nod to the swamp analogy that Trump frequently embraced on the campaign trail, Coburn said of the Trump supporters, "They voted for putting muzzles on the alligators in the swamp, draining the swamp, doing what people said they would do."
One thing that disturbs Coburn is Republican-driven chatter of bringing back earmarks or pork-barrel spending to the Capitol. While in office, Coburn's "wastebooks" were legendary, lashing out about wasteful government spending such as Swedish massages for rabbits and treadmills for squirrels.
“If earmarks come back, I can tell you the Republicans won’t be in power. They will lose the next election big time," he said. "And they shouldn’t be in power if they bring back that kind of biased tool used by the most senior members [of Congress.]”
But the former Okie senator surprised ABC News' Karl and Klein when he suggested an alternative for funding pet projects in certain states. He didn’t have a problem if Trump played favorites.
Klein asked, “If Trump were to say I will give you this bridge in your district, if he says that to certain members, is that a better system?”
Coburn's response? Yes because of transparency.
“Sure that’s a better system -- that's above board," he said. "I’m going to trade you some discretionary money out of the Transportation Department that you wouldn’t otherwise get if you vote for this. That’s above board. You’re going to find that out. Earmarks get buried so you never know who did it."