It was one full day after Donald Trump signed a Russia sanctions bill passed by crushing majorities in the House and Senate, and he was still angry about it on Thursday. So angry, in fact, that he decided to slam a Congress controlled by his own party on Twitter, hitting it for both the Russia vote and the failure of the health care bill.
"Our relationship with Russia is at an all-time & very dangerous low," the president tweeted on Thursday morning. "You can thank Congress, the same people that can't even give us HCare!"
Trump isn't just mad because Congress passed a bill he disagreed with by a veto-proof majority, or failed to repeal and replace Obamacare. He's also mad because the bill expressly constrains his authority to lift sanctions without congressional approval. In essence, Republicans are telling a president from their own party that they don't trust him.
@realDonaldTrump: Our relationship with Russia is at an all-time & very dangerous low. You can thank Congress, the same people that can't even give us HCare!
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This is a far more revealing fight than standard Trump Twitter temper tantrums. It shows the degree that the president has fallen out with the people in Congress he most needs to succeed as president. Congressional Republicans, for their part, are increasingly willing to ignore Trump or shoot back at him.
It also shows the degree to which Russia continues to benefit from chaos inside the US government — chaos, experts say, that Moscow is still trying to stoke. And Trump is playing right into their hands.
"Attacking Congress is a time-honored American tradition," said Paul Musgrave, a scholar of US foreign policy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. "Doing it directly by tweet, in a vague and threatening manner, is not."