'I think it's crazy': Bill Kristol on McConnell's bid for straight Obamacare repeal that 'nobody wanted'

Key Points
  • "I think it's crazy," Bill Kristol said of Mitch McConnell's proposal for a standalone health-care repeal vote.
  • Two Republican senators announced their opposition to the bill Monday evening, effectively killing the bill's chances in the Senate.
  • McConnell acknowledged Monday night that the bill would not be successful.
Trump will go into August recess without legislation: Bill Kristol

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's gambit to repeal the Affordable Care Act without an immediate plan to replace it is even less propitious than the bill that just failed, according to the founder and editor-at-large of the conservative Weekly Standard.

"I think it's crazy," said Bill Kristol on CNBC's "Power Lunch" Tuesday.

"I really wonder what McConnell was thinking last night. It was obvious that no one wanted to vote" on repealing the current health-care law without replacing it, he said.

After Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Jerry Moran, R-Kan., announced their mutual decision not to support the most recent update to the Senate's health-care bill, the majority leader conceded late Monday evening that the bill could not pass the legislative body.

"Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful," McConnell said in a statement.

Kristol said the latest health-care failure could mean the Trump administration will have endured its first seven months in power without a legislative victory to flaunt.

"I think they will go into the August recess without any big legislative accomplishment," Kristol said, "and voters will say, 'Gee, isn't Donald Trump supposed to be able to shake things up?' and/or, 'Shouldn't the Congress be able to govern?'"

On McConnell's performance throughout the process of attempting to pass a new health-care law, Kristol pointed to Republican lawmakers' lack of enthusiasm.

"I've been struck, talking to Republicans, ... how unhappy they are with the way Mitch McConnell ran this," Kristol said. "I've been in Washington for 30 years, and the fact that major senior Republican senators didn't know what was in the bill that leadership staff was drafting" may have partly led Lee and Moran to jump ship on the bill.

"They paid McConnell and the president back [for their ineffective leadership], Moran and Lee did," Kristol said.