WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Thursday went a step further in his criticism of the leader of the Republican majority in the United States Senate, openly blaming him for the party’s failure to repeal and replace the health-care overhaul signed by his predecessor, Barack Obama.
“Can you believe that Mitch McConnell, who has screamed Repeal & Replace for 7 years, couldn’t get it done? Must Repeal & Replace ObamaCare!” Trump wrote on Twitter, referring to the Affordable Care Act, Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement.
On Wednesday, Trump criticized McConnell for having said he had “excessive expectations” about Republicans’ ability to overcome uniform Democratic opposition and quickly pass a bill to repeal or alter Obamacare.
“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 tweeted, referring to comments the Senate majority leader made this week in Kentucky.
That criticism laid bare the strained relations between the president and congressional leaders, representatives of the Republican establishment who have been unable to deliver big legislative achievements in Trump’s first six months in office.
The most recent attempt to replace Obamacare failed on July 28 in the Senate due to the opposition of three Republicans; the decisive vote was cast by Arizona lawmaker John McCain, who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer.
It remains unclear whether the party has a new strategy going forward on repealing and replacing Obamacare, one of Trump’s key campaign promises.
Trump, who has criticized rising Obamacare premiums and deductibles, took to Twitter shortly after the bill was rejected to say “3 Republicans and 48 Democrats let the American people down” and reiterating that the answer was to “let Obamacare implode.”
After the rejection of the “skinny bill,” named as such because it sought only a partial repeal of Obamacare, the Senate minority leader, Democrat Chuck Schumer, appealed to Republicans to work together to improve the current healthcare laws.
“Let’s turn the page and work together, to improve our healthcare system,” Schumer said.