In the midst of his 17-day New Jersey vacation, President Donald Trump continues to use Twitter to prod Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on the topic of health care reform, a staple of the Republican Party platform for the better part of a decade.
After the months-long attempt to pass legislation to repeal and/or replace the Affordable Care Act reached an impasse in the Senate in late July, McConnell, R-Ky., expressed dismay at the administration’s expectations and suggested the president’s inexperience was undermining the GOP’s efforts.
Trump has responded, in apparently irascible fashion at times, via social media, most recently telling McConnell — on August recess with the rest of Congress — to “get back to work,” not just on health care, but with regard to “tax reform” and “infrastructure” as well.
Here’s a timeline of Trump and McConnell’s dust-up this week:
Monday, Aug. 7
McConnell, speaking at a Rotary Club gathering in Kentucky, expressed his dismay with the public’s perception of Congress as unable to accomplish their aims, pinning a portion of the issue on early deadlines.
“Part of the reason I think that the story line 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,” said McConnell.
McConnell added: “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,” said McConnell. “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.”
Wednesday, Aug. 9
Trump and McConnell spoke over the phone, with Trump expressing his disappointment in the majority leader’s comments and indicating that he wished to continue working toward health care repeal, a source familiar with the call told ABC News.
Aides to McConnell believe Trump called him from the golf course, according to one who spoke on condition of anonymity, but the senator’s office would not confirm this particular call occurred. The office did say that Trump and McConnell “talk on the phone all the time, sometimes daily.”
Trump later publicly responded to McConnell’s “excessive expectations” line via Twitter with criticism of his own, noting that the party began its reform efforts long before…