Donald Trump spoke from his vacation hideaway to complain that Mitch McConnell needs to go back to work to pass the agenda Trump isn't bothering to push himself.
In between rounds of golf during his taxpayer-funded vacation at his own golf resort, Donald Trump attacked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s work ethic.
Trump tweeted, “Mitch, get back to work and put Repeal & Replace, Tax Reform & Cuts and a great Infrastructure Bill on my desk for signing.”
The missive was in reference to Congress going into recess after the Senate failed to secure the votes needed to shove through the repeal of health care reform endorsed by Trump and passed by House Republicans. The bill would have slashed over $700 billion from Medicaid and kicked more than 20 million people off their insurance.
Trump is in the first week of a planned 17-day vacation, though his team has insisted that it is a “working vacation,” and Trump tweeted it is not a vacation because he would be doing “meetings and calls.”
Appearing outside the Bedminster Golf Club Thursday, Trump continued to fire at McConnell in what would be considered unusually harsh terms between the leader of the party and the legislative leader of the Senate. Trump complained that it’s “been two years” and “all I’ve been hearing about is repeal and replace,” but the bill was not on his desk waiting for a signature on the first day of his presidency. He described the defeat of the bill by one vote as “a disgrace.”
When a reporter asked about conservatives, including Sean Hannity, saying McConnell should retire and whether Trump agreed, Trump responded, “Well, I’ll tell you what — if he 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.”
TRUMP: I just want him to get repeal and replace done. I’ve been hearing repeal and replace now for seven years. But I’ve only been doing this for two years. And I’ve really only been doing this for six months, but I’ve been running. So now it’s almost two years, and 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. And they passed repeal and replace, but they never had a president, frankly, or a Senate, that was willing to do it. But they never had a president, so it didn’t matter. So I say very simply, Where is repeal and replace? 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. 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. 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.
Trump, despite his position within the party and the bully pulpit of the presidency, did not take blame for the collapse of his legislative agenda, which pales in comparison to his predecessor, President Barack Obama. At this point in his presidency, Obama and Democrats had already passed the economic Recovery Act, and Obama was out campaigning for health care reform, which eventually passed and led to millions getting health insurance. Trump has stuck to a few unfocused, self-aggrandizing rallies, rather than focusing on legislation.
Earlier in the day, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the media she was “not sure” if Trump would play golf that morning, continuing the administration’s habit of hiding and misleading on Trump’s golf outings.
The day before, despite not informing the press covering him, Trump played 18 holes of golf with several associates. The relaxing game — Trump posed for selfies, which were later taken offline — came less than 24 hours after he had threatened “fire and fury” against North Korea and hinted at a nuclear confrontation.
The entire cycle was a near-perfect encapsulation of Trump: He refused to do the hard work of selling his plan, went on a holiday, blamed someone else for his plan failing, then argued that anybody else but him should take the fall. Then he went back on vacation.