Politics & Government

‘Very disappointed.’ Trump scolds McConnell on Twitter, implies he should step aside

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to local Republicans at the annual Graves County GOP breakfast in Mayfield, Ky., before the annual Fancy Farm picnic.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to local Republicans at the annual Graves County GOP breakfast in Mayfield, Ky., before the annual Fancy Farm picnic.

President Donald Trump can’t stop talking about Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell.

For the third time in 24 hours, Trump turned to one of his biggest platforms — his Twitter account — to vent his displeasure with McConnell. Then, he implied that McConnell should step aside from his position as Senate Majority Leader and said he was disappointed in him.

In his latest Twitter salvo Thursday afternoon, Trump urged the Senate Majority Leader to “Get back to work” on health care, adding, “You can do it!”

That followed a Tweet directed at McConnell on the same topic earlier in the day.

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

Later, in response to a question from the White House press pool, Trump implied the Senate’s top Republican should step aside if he can’t pass Trump’s legislative agenda.

“Well, I’ll tell you what,” Trump said, “If he doesn’t get repeal and replace done, 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 that done, then you should ask me that question.”

Trump continued to express his disappointment in McConnell later in the day.

When asked a question about Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who is McConnell’s wife, Trump praised her while knocking McConnell.

“Elaine is doing a very good job,” Trump told the White House Press Pool. “We’re very proud of Elaine as secretary of Transportation, as you know. She’s doing a very good job. I’m very disappointed in Mitch. If he gets these bills passed, I’ll be very happy with him and I’ll be the first to admit it.”

Trump has not been afraid to use his Twitter account to attack congressmen, but until recently had generally stayed away from McConnell, who is one of the most powerful men in Washington and an important ally in passing Trump’s legislative agenda.

That changed after McConnell said Trump had “excessive expectations” about what congress would be able to achieve during a speech in Florence Tuesday.

McConnell’s statement came in a speech about how Republicans still have time to accomplish their agenda before the 2018 election, while hailing the nomination of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and the elimination of several Obama-era regulations.

Trump’s social media director Dan Scavino took to Twitter to criticize McConnell after the speech, followed by Sean Hannity, a Fox News host sympathetic to the Trump administration.

Trump has tweeted about McConnell three times since, including an early afternoon tweet that urged the Senate Majority Leader to “Get back to work,” and saying, “You can do it!”

Trump is on a 17 day working vacation at his golf resort in Bedminster New Jersey.

In response to the president’s comments, a spokesman for McConnell said: “The Leader has spoken repeatedly about the path forward regarding Obamacare repeal and replace multiple times on the Senate floor, at media availabilities and in Kentucky.”

When asked about his relationship with Trump at the Fancy Farm political picnic on Saturday, McConnell chuckled.

“I talk to the president a lot,” he said. “He loves to talk to people and I give him my position. As you can imagine we are frequently on the phone together. I give him my advice. Sometimes he takes it.”

U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, came to McConnell’s defense on Twitter Thursday, saying the majority leader had his support.

@SenateMajLdr has been the best leader we’ve had in my time in the Senate, through very tough challenges. I fully support him.” Hatch tweeted.

In the past, McConnell has expressed reservations about the president’s Twitter habits.

“I’ve been pretty candid with him and all of you that I’m not a fan of the daily tweets,” McConnell said during a press conference in February, according to The Hill.

Disability advocates staged a “die in” protest outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office on June 22. The protest is in response to the Senate Republicans health care plan, which includes proposed cuts to Medicaid. Police arrested dem

Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) released the Senate Republican health care bill details on Thursday. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also spoke on the Senate floor stating the bill is not as great as it seems. Credit: Meta Viers/McClatchy

The Associated Press contributed to this report