President Donald Trump showed no interest Friday in backing off his feud with Senate Republicans, even as some in his own party warned he could be undermining his agenda on Capitol Hill.
Taking to Twitter, Trump retweeted a pair of “Fox & Friends” headlines recounting his rhetorical battle with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and other member of the GOP caucus.
“Senators learn the hard way about the fallout from turning on Trump,” read the first headline.
The second: “Trump fires new warning shot at McConnell, leaves door open on whether he should step down.”
The president has been smarting from the Senate’s failure to pass an overhaul of the Affordable Care Act, a long-standing priority for the GOP and a marquee campaign promise from Trump last year.
In a series of tweets and public statements in recent days, Trump has taken shots at McConnell for comments earlier this week suggesting that Trump’s lack of political experience had led to “excessive expectations” for passing major legislation.
Speaking to reporters Thursday afternoon, Trump declined to say whether McConnell should resign. But Trump said they should ask the question again if the Senate leader doesn’t deliver on the president’s leading priorities. Besides a health-care bill, those include tax cuts and new infrastructure spending.
One of the Fox News stories amplified by Trump on Twitter on Friday notes that two GOP senators who’ve spoken out against Trump and his policies – Sen. Jeff Flake, Ariz., and Dean Heller, Nev. – have now drawn primary challenges.
“Republican senators who have been a thorn in President Trump’s side are beginning to see the political consequences of opposing the White House as pro-Trump activists start to mobilize,” says the story retweeted by the president.
In the wake of Trump’s comments on Thursday, several Republicans said his words could instead backfire, making it more difficult to get his agenda passed on Capitol Hill, where McConnell is a key figure and still popular among fellow GOP senators. So far, Republicans have achieved few major legislative victories, despite control of the White House and both chambers of Congress.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · John Wagner