President Trump escalated his war of words against the Senate Republican leader today after Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) said Trump had “excessive expectations” of Congress to meet White House timelines for legislation.
McConnell told a Rotary Club in his home state on Monday that “part of the reason I think that the storyline is that we haven’t done much is because, in part, the president and others have set these early timelines about things need to be done by a certain point.”
“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,” he said. “So part of the reason I think people feel we’re underperforming is because too many artificial deadlines — unrelated to the reality of the complexity of legislating — may not have been fully understood.”
Trump tweeted Wednesday, “Senator Mitch McConnell said I had ‘excessive expectations,’ but I don’t think so. After 7 years of hearing Repeal & Replace, why not done?” But Sean Hannity went after the majority leader first, tweeting at McConnell on Tuesday, “YOU are a WEAK, SPINELESS leader who does not keep his word and you need to Retire!”
Trump tweeted at McConnell again this morning: “Can you believe that Mitch McConnell, who has screamed Repeal & Replace for 7 years, couldn’t get it done. Must Repeal & Replace ObamaCare!”
The Senate is currently in recess, but before leaving for their home states both Democrats and Republicans agreed to keep the body in pro forma session so Trump could not make recess appointments.
At his golf club today in Bedminster, N.J., Trump told reporters that if McConnell “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” about whether or not the majority leader should retire.
“I just want him to get repeal and replace done… Now I want tax reform and tax cuts. We’re going to reduce taxes for the people. We pay more tax than anybody in the world. And we’re going to reduce taxes. So I say tax cuts, tax reform. And I want a very big infrastructure bill, where — we’re working on that very hard already. And we can do that. And we may even get bipartisan on infrastructure. But we want to have it,” Trump said.
“But I said, ‘Mitch, get to work, and let’s get it done.’ They should have had this last one done. They lost by one vote. For a thing like that to happen is a disgrace. And, frankly, it shouldn’t have happened. That, I can tell you — it shouldn’t have happened.”
That drew a Twitter response from the Senate president pro tempore.
“@SenateMajLdr has been the best leader we’ve had in my time in the Senate, through very tough challenges. I fully support him,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) tweeted.
McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, is Trump’s transportation secretary. Trump said at a press conference after a national security meeting that Chao is doing “a great job,” but “I’m very disappointed in Mitch.”