- President Donald Trump slams Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for failing to pass the Obamacare repeal.
- McConnell said earlier this week that Trump had unrealistic expectations about the legislative process.
- Trump's comment comes as his relations with GOP senators have grown increasingly strained.
"Mitch, get back to work and put Repeal & Replace, Tax Reform & Cuts and a great Infrastructure Bill on my desk for signing," Trump wrote on Twitter from what he calls a "working vacation" at his New Jersey golf club. "You can do it!"
In an earlier Thursday tweet, Trump slammed the Kentucky Republican for failing to pass an Obamacare repeal plan after campaigning on dismantling the law for most of a decade. Trump said: "Can you believe that Mitch McConnell, who has screamed Repeal & Replace for 7 years, couldn't get it done. Must Repeal & Replace ObamaCare!"
Can you believe that Mitch McConnell, who has screamed Repeal & Replace for 7 years, couldn't get it done. Must Repeal & Replace ObamaCare!
Later Thursday, Trump doubled down on his criticism of the Senate majority leader. The president told reporters that Republicans should have been able to repeal Obamacare, calling the failure to do so a "disgrace."
When asked if McConnell should step down as majority leader, Trump told the reporter to ask him that question if the Kentucky Republican can't push the president's agenda through.
"Well, I'll tell you what. If he doesn't get repeal and replace done and if he doesn't get taxes done — meaning cuts and reform — and if he doesn't get a very easy one to get done, infrastructure, if he doesn't get them done, then you can ask me that question," Trump said.
The exchanges likely will not help relations between the president and Republican senators when lawmakers return from recess. The Senate GOP has increasingly shrugged off suggestions from Trump as he faces low approval ratings and struggles to enact his agenda. For example, the president has urged senators to keep trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but that has fallen on mostly deaf ears.
It is unclear so far how Trump's recent criticism of McConnell will affect the pair's ability to work together in upcoming policy debates: the debt ceiling, federal appropriations and tax reform. Legislation on tax reform has to originate in the House.
A day earlier, Trump lambasted McConnell's criticism of what the senator called Trump's "excessive expectations."
"Senator Mitch McConnell said I had 'excessive expectations,' but I don't think so," Trump wrote. "After 7 years of hearing Repeal & Replace, why not done?"
McConnell on Tuesday partly blamed deadlines set by Trump and others for the perception that Republicans have failed to follow through on their campaign promises.
"Our new president has, of course, not been in this line of work before, and I think had excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process," he said while on recess in Kentucky.
Trump's tweet about McConnell echoed one sent earlier Wednesday by Dan Scavino, his director of social media.
Several Senate efforts to repeal or replace the health-care law failed last month because of GOP divisions. Senate leaders have said they will move on to tax policy when they return from their August recess, over Trump's suggestion to stay on health care until they pass a bill.
Republicans have not introduced joint tax or infrastructure bills.
Trump has faced the harsh reality of Washington's legislative pace since he took office. As a candidate, he promised to "immediately" repeal and replace Obamacare. His administration also originally set an August goal for passing tax reform.
While Trump has repeatedly cast himself as waiting to sign bills while Congress tries to pass them, his engagement in the health-care debate has proven inconsistent.