Politics

'Throw Massie out' – Trump rages on Twitter after GOP congressman hints he'll oppose coronavirus stimulus bill

Key Points
  • President Donald Trump on Friday lashed out at Rep. Thomas Massie, calling him a "third rate Grandstander" after the Kentucky Republican signaled he would oppose a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill.
  • Massie said in a lengthy Twitter thread later Friday morning that he will "request a vote" on the stimulus bill, essentially delaying its likely passage by forcing a recorded vote.
  • But Massie's request did not garner the support of one-fifth of the members present on the House floor, which he needed in order to force the roll-call vote. The House passed the bill by a voice vote early Friday afternoon.
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., and Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., (not pictured) hold a news conference on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, outside of the Capitol to de-authorize use of Capitol office space and staff provided to the recent ex-Speaker of the House.
Bill Clark | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Friday lashed out at Rep. Thomas Massie, calling him a "third rate Grandstander" after the Kentucky Republican signaled he would oppose a $2 trillion relief bill intended to soften the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

"He just wants the publicity. He can't stop it, only delay, which is both dangerous & costly," Trump said of Massie in a series of furious tweets.

Trump said that while Republicans had to "give up some stupid things" through negotiations with Democrats "in order to get the 'big picture' done," the bill was "90% GREAT!"

"WIN BACK HOUSE, but throw Massie out of Republican Party!" Trump added.

Massie said in a lengthy Twitter thread later Friday morning that he will "request a vote" on the stimulus bill, which could have delayed its passage by forcing a recorded vote.

"Right now, millions of essential, working-class Americans are still required to go to work during this pandemic," Massie wrote. "Is it too much to ask that the House do its job, just like the Senate did?"

But Massie's request did not garner the support of one-fifth of the members present on the House floor, which he needed in order to force the roll-call vote.

The House passed the bill by a voice vote early Friday afternoon, sending it to Trump to sign.

The Democrat-led chamber wanted a voice vote instead of a recorded vote, which would have taken longer. Major bills typically require a recorded vote rather than a voice vote, in which members yell 'yea' or 'nay' and the presiding member decides which side is louder.

Additionally, many members had left Washington amid the coronavirus outbreak. After Massie first suggested he would push for a recorded vote, members rushed back to Capitol Hill.

Massie had hinted Thursday that he wants a quorum, which would force at least half of those House members to come back.

In an interview with a Kentucky radio station that day, Massie signaled he would oppose the bill because of its effect on U.S. national debt, according to the Louisville-based Courier-Journal. 

"Not a good deal," Massie tweeted later Thursday morning.

 

Massie drew outrage from some other House members for making them come back to Washington, especially since at least two House members have tested positive for COVID-19 and others have voluntary quarantined themselves.

Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said in a tweet Friday morning: "Because of one Member of Congress refusing to allow emergency action entire Congress must be called back to vote in House. Risk of infection and risk of legislation being delayed. Disgraceful. Irresponsible."

But some House Republicans leapt to defend Massie against Trump's attacks.

Freedom Caucus member Chip Roy, R-Texas, told Trump to "back off" of Massie, saying on Twitter that the Kentucky representative "is one of the most principled men in Congress & loves his country."

"There's nothing 3rd rate about that, @realDonaldTrump," Roy tweeted.

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., tweeted that Massie "doesn't warrant this dressing down" from the president. "Thomas—Hang tough brother."

Democrats also tore into Massie.

"Honestly, I don't want to make an insignificant person more significant than they are," Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., said when asked about him Friday.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry, who served under President Barack Obama, said in a profanity-laced tweet that Massie "must be quarantined to prevent the spread of his massive stupidity."

Trump responded approvingly: "Never knew John Kerry had such a good sense of humor! Very impressed!"

— CNBC's Christina Wilkie contributed to this report.