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McConnell Surprised by Barrage of Trump Criticisms

Image: McConnell Surprised by Barrage of Trump Criticisms
(AP)

By    |   Saturday, 12 Aug 2017 08:33 AM

President Donald Trump's barrage of verbal attacks on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell this week came as a surprise to the longtime lawmaker, according to a report.

The Hill cites people close to McConnell who said the Kentucky Republican did not think his comments earlier this week — during which he said Trump had "excessive expectations" when he took office — would garner such a strong and negative response from the president.

The pair spoke on the phone Wednesday, according to The Hill, about what folks in McConnell's camp called a misunderstanding. That apparent conversation, however, did nothing to slow down Trump's near-constant stream of attacks.

Trump blames McConnell for the Senate's failure to pass healthcare legislation last month, which came up short because a handful of Republicans — including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. — voted against a skinny repeal of the current Obamacare law. The president made his disappointment clear this week in press conferences and tweets.

Trump was particularly candid during a press conference at his golf resort in Bedminster, N.J. Friday afternoon, telling reporters that missing out on passing healthcare reform by one vote was a "disgrace."

"I said, 'Mitch, get to work, and let's get it done,'" Trump said. "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."

Trump continued by pointing out that GOP lawmakers have discussed repealing Obamacare for more than seven years. Now that Republicans control both houses of Congress and the White House, Trump said it's time to act — and something should have been ready when he was sworn in.

"I've been hearing repeal and replace now for seven years," Trump said. "All I hear is repeal and replace. And, then, I get there, and I said: 'Where's the bill? I want to sign it, first day.'

"And they don't have it."

There have been calls for McConnell to step down as majority leader in the wake of the healthcare debacle and because of the Senate's slow pace of getting work done this year — including the confirmation of Trump's appointees. Several GOP senators have since voiced their support of McConnell as the party's No. 1 in the chamber.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., also expressed his support for McConnell in an interview with the Lexington Herald Leader. 

"If there's blame to go around, people from the states, the senators that promised to vote for it then didn't, that's who I think there needs to be a discussion with," said Paul, who voted against the skinny repeal of Obamacare.

The Herald Leader quoted McConnell as saying last weekend he speaks with Trump often about legislative issues.

"I talk to the president a lot," McConnell 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."

McConnell has touted the Senate'e progress on issues via his Twitter account this month as criticisms come at him from all sides.

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President Donald Trump's barrage of verbal attacks on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell this week came as a surprise to the longtime lawmaker, according to a report.
mcconnell, barrage, trump, healthcare
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2017-33-12
Saturday, 12 Aug 2017 08:33 AM
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