Washington Post — By John Wagner August 10, 2017 at 8:10 AM
President Trump on Thursday stepped up criticism of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for not muscling through a health-care bill, escalating an extraordinary fight with a key leader of his own party.
“Can you believe that Mitch McConnell, who has screamed Repeal & Replace for 7 years, couldn’t get it done,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Must Repeal & Replace ObamaCare!”
Trump’s morning tweet came less than 24 hours after he first went after McConnell on Twitter, taking issue with remarks the Kentucky Republican made earlier in the week suggesting that Trump’s lack of political experience had led to“excessive expectations” for passing major legislation.
Trump has remained bitter about the failure of congressional Republicans to pass a bill overhauling the Affordable Care Act, a pledge the party has made since 2010 and a marquee campaign promise for Trump.
The sparring with McConnell was the latest sign of increasingly strained relations between Trump and Republicans in Congress, who have had few victories since January despite the GOP’s control of the White House and both the House and Senate.
Since the collapse of a health-care bill, Trump has belittled GOP senators as looking like “fools” and suggested they change the chamber’s rules to make it easier to pass bills.
The president’s attacks on a leader popular among Senate Republicans comes as lawmakers are poised to try to tackle other shared — but challenging — priorities in the fall, including a tax overhaul, as well as craft a budget and raise the nation’s debt ceiling.
“Discerning a particular strategy or goal from these tweets is hard,” said Doug Heye, a Republican consultant and former Capitol Hill staffer. “It just doesn’t help enact any part of his agenda, and it sends a further troubling sign to Capitol Hill Republicans already wary of the White House.”
Heye said that with Trump’s job approval numbers declining among the Republican base, “now is the time to build support within the party.”
In his remarks on Monday to the Rotary Club of Florence, Ky., McConnell said, “Our new president had of course not been in this line of work before.” He added: “I think he had excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process.”