Trump intensifies attacks at McConnell over health care failure

2017-08-10 21:10:41 GMT2017-08-11 05:10:41(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

WASHINGTON, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- For a second consecutive day, U.S. President Donald Trump took to Twitter to fire at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell over a protracted GOP failure to repeal and replace the country's current health care system.

"Can you believe that Mitch McConnell, Who has screamed Repeal & Replace for 7 years, couldn't get it done," Trump made a tweet on Thursday morning.

The attacks on McConnell came less than a day after Trump pushed back the Kentucky Republican's early remarks that suggested the president's lack of experience in legislating had resulted in "excessive expectations" for passing a major bill.

The Senate rejected late July the latest GOP health care draft, a move that sank Trump's bid to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as the Obamacare, after three Republican senators crossed party lines to join Democrats.

The sparring marked the strained relations and frustrations between Trump and Republican congressmen, who have achieved little progress in legislative agenda since January despite the Republicans control both the House and Senate.

In an evening event at his home district on Monday, McConnell told audience that he found it "extremely irritating" that there is an impression that Congress is underperforming.

"Part of the reason I think the storyline is that we haven't done much is because, in part, the president and others have set these early timelines about things need to be done by a certain point," McConnell said.

Trump, a political newcomer who "has not been in this line of work before," had "excessive expectations about how quickly things happen" in legislative progress, the senior Republican stressed.

While on a 17-day "working vacation" at his golf club in Bedminster in the state of New Jersey, Trump took the first shot at McConnell's criticism on Wednesday.

"Senator Mitch McConnell said I had 'excessive expectations,' but I don't think so," Trump wrote in a tweet. "After 7 years of hearing Repeal & Replace, why not done?"

Joining the attacks on McConnell's Kentucky remarks was Dan Scavino Jr., the White House social media director.

McConnell "must have needed another 4 years - in addition to the 7 years - to repeal and replace Obamacare," the outspoken Trump aide tweeted Wednesday in a satirical tone.

Trump has remained bitter since Republicans failed to advance a bill through Senate to repeal and replace the Obamacare, a pledge that the GOP has made since 2010 and also a major promise of Trump's 2016 campaign.

Following the collapse of the GOP repeal efforts, Trump vented his anger over Republicans, saying GOP senators "look like fools" while urging them to change Senate rules to make it easier to pass bills.

However, the Senate was already voting under "budget reconciliation" rules, which would allow bills to be passed with a 51-vote majority.

Were it not for the three defections, the GOP health care draft could have been passed as Republicans have a 52-48 majority in the Senate.

A steadfast supporter of Trump congressional agenda, McConnell orchestrated the confirmation of Trump's Supreme Court pic, Neil M. Gorsuch, considered the Trump's largest win on Capitol Hill to date, but the Senate majority leader has repeatedly suggested the president tweet less.

Despite frustrations over the health care setback, Trump still needs McConnell to unite the Republicans as the party seeks to take on tax reform, funding for a border wall, debt ceiling, and even a revived push to repeal Obamacare when lawmakers return from the August recess.

Softening his stance in a tweet Thursday afternoon, Trump urged McConnell to "get back to work" on bills, including health care repeal, tax policy, and infrastructure, saying "you can do it!"

"Attacking the Senate majority leader of your own is utterly incomprehensible and completely wrongheaded," said Republican strategist Michael Steel.

"There is no positive result for the president or his agenda in these attacks," he added.

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