Trump attacks Senate leader McConnell over healthcare failure

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McConnell
attends Trump healthcare meeting with Senate Republicans at the
White House in Washington

Thomson
Reuters


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump attacked his
own party’s Senate leader for a second day running on Thursday,
venting frustration over Republicans’ dramatic failure to repeal
and replace the Obamacare healthcare law on Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell.

Trump assailed McConnell on Twitter both Wednesday and Thursday.
He was responding to a speech in which the Senate leader said
Trump had “excessive expectations” of Congress on matters like
healthcare and did not understand how long it can take to pass
major legislation.

“Senator Mitch McConnell said I had “excessive expectations,” but
I don’t think so. After 7 years of hearing Repeal & Replace,
why not done?” Trump said in a tweet on Wednesday from
Bedminster, New Jersey, where he is on a working vacation.

The president sharpened his criticism on Thursday, directly
blaming McConnell for Congress’ failure to achieve a long-held
Republican policy goal that was also a Trump campaign promise:
repealing Democratic President Barack Obama’s signature domestic
legislation, the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

“Can you believe that Mitch McConnell, who has screamed Repeal
& Replace for 7 years, couldn’t get it done. Must Repeal
& Replace ObamaCare!” Trump tweeted on Thursday.

A McConnell spokesman did not comment on Trump’s tweets.

McConnell’s efforts to push through a healthcare bill collapsed
last month when he failed to reconcile conflicting demands among
conservatives and moderates in the party and get all of the
Republicans in the Senate behind the legislation. The House
passed its version of a healthcare bill in May.

Alienating the Senate majority leader could make it far more
difficult for Trump to achieve his legislative goals, which
include tax cuts and a boost in infrastructure spending as well
as healthcare reform.

Trump has failed to notch up a major legislative win since taking
office in January, although Republicans control both the Senate
and House of Representatives. The administration has also been
mired in investigations into contacts between his presidential
campaign and Russia, and distracted by infighting among
high-level White House staff.

McConnell, in a speech on Monday in his home state of Kentucky,
said the administration had set too many artificial deadlines and
was disappointed when lawmakers did not meet them.

“Our new president, of course, has not been in this line of work
before. And I think he had excessive expectations about how
quickly things happen in the democratic process,” McConnell said
in the speech in Florence, Kentucky, which was posted on Facebook
by the local Rotary Club.

The blame game between the president, a real estate magnate who
had never previously held public office, and McConnell came as
opinion polls this week showed public approval rating for
Congress as well as for Trump dipping to new lows. A
RealClearPolitics average of opinion polls shows approval for the
job the president is doing at 37.9 percent, while just 15.7
percent approve of the work Congress is doing.

Republican Senator Ron Johnson, asked about Trump’s criticism,
told CNN on Thursday, “I completely feel his frustration. I’m
every bit as frustrated.”

(Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Susan Cornwell; Editing by Frances
Kerry)

Read the original article on Reuters. Copyright 2017. Follow Reuters on Twitter.

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Trump attacks Senate leader McConnell over healthcare failure

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