Our president has been on something of a warpath lately, as he is looking for anyone but himself to blame for the health care debacle. His targets have begun to narrow, and the Majority Leader of the Senate is firmly in his crosshairs. It began with a little Twitter prodding yesterday in response to McConnell’s criticism of Trump’s expectations, and his penchant for setting arbitrary deadlines that have nothing to do with the legislation in question.
This morning, Trump unleashed another screed towards the most powerful Republican in America.
A few hours after that, he signaled his annoyance by completing the progression from “Senator” to “Mitch McConnell” to just “Mitch.”
But that's not all folks, while the president tweet-ordered Congress to go back to work from his vacation home in New Jersey, he also took the time to keep up his rant while speaking to reporters.
On health care collapse: “I just want him to get repeal and replace done…. All I hear is repeal and replace, and then I get there and I said where's the bill? First day, and they don't have it.”
On his McConnell criticism: “I said, Mitch, get to work and let's get it done. They should have had that 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.”
On whether McConnell should step down: “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.”
Let me translate that last one from Trumpism to English: “If we don't pass anything, come back to me so I can unleash a sound bite that will hopefully sink the Majority Leader's career.”
Some Republicans have already come out in defense of McConnell.
If it wasn’t clear before where this is all headed, today’s rants left no doubt. If the Republican Congress continues to fail to pass any serious legislation, there is a very good chance that the president’s campaign rallies could intercede with the 2018 midterms, and it doesn’t take a whole lot of imagination to envision the President of the United States actively campaigning against members of his own party.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.