President Donald Trump on Wednesday rejected Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s assertion that the president had “excessive expectations” on health care and asked why the Senate still hasn’t repealed and replaced Obamacare.
“Senator Mitch McConnell said I had ‘excessive expectations,’ but I don’t think so,” the president tweeted Wednesday afternoon. “After 7 years of hearing Repeal & Replace, why not done?”
McConnell told the Rotary Club in Florence, Kentucky, on Monday that he found the public perception that Congress hasn’t accomplished anything “extremely irritating.” He attributed that perception, in part, to “the president and others” who “have set these early timelines” for legislation such as undoing the 2010 law that is President Barack Obama’s signature achievement.
“Our new president, of course, has not been in this line of work before and I think had excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process,” McConnell (R-Ky.) added.
His comments drew a rebuke from White House communications director Dan Scavino, who tweeted Wednesday: “More excuses. @SenateMajLdr must have needed another 4 years — in addition to the 7 years — to repeal and replace Obamacare.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a frequent Trump critic, also came to the president’s defense, calling it “ridiculous” for McConnell to blame Trump’s impatience and inexperience for the public sense that Congress hasn’t done much.
“It’s like being hit by a slow-moving bus in Kansas. You can see the bus coming,” the South Carolina Republican told Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade in a radio interview. “The bottom line is we didn’t fail because we didn’t have enough time. We failed because we were not ready to solve the problem, and we didn’t have the right idea.”
McConnell has so far failed to bring forward a bill to repeal Obamacare or to repeal and replace it in a manner that could garner enough support from his Republican caucus to advance. The Senate left town for a monthlong recess last week after falling short of its years-long pledge. The chamber plans to focus on tax reform and other issues such as the debt ceiling when lawmakers return in September.
Graham, however, said he intends to continue pushing for a health care overhaul by introducing a bill with Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.).
“I like Mitch, but for eight years we’ve been saying we’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare. It’s not like we made this up overnight,” Graham said. “There is no way to sugarcoat this: The Republican Party promised for eight years to repeal and replace Obamacare. We failed, and if we give up, shame on us.”