U.S. President Donald Trump appears to be intensifying a feud with Mitch McConnell, the president’s party leader in the Senate and a pivotal player in advancing the president’s agenda.
For the second time in less than 24 hours, Trump assailed McConnell Thursday on Twitter for not pushing a health care bill through the Senate.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Trump criticized McConnell for recent remarks suggesting the president’s limited political experience contributed to unreasonably high expectations for health care reform.
On Monday, McConnell told constituents in his home state of Kentucky, “Our new president had, of course, not been in this line of work before.” McConnell added, “I think he had excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process.”
After three Senate Republican amendments to repeal the nation’s health care law failed in late July, Republican senators have said they would move on from health care and focus on shared priority issues such as tax reform and the federal budget.
Attacks seen as risky
But Trump has not relented on the health care issue and continues to attack McConnell, a popular leader among Senate Republicans. The attacks are a risky approach considering Trump’s slumping job approval ratings among his most fervent supporters.
A number of recent polls show voters who approve strongly of the president – a way to gauge the size of Trump’s most loyal followers – has declined. For example, a POLITICO-Morning Consult poll conducted in early August found the percentage who approve strongly dipped to a new low of 18-percent. A recent Quinnipiac University poll found Trump’s strong approval rating dropped from 28 percent in late June to 23 percent in early August. Several other recent polls also show Trump’s approval ratings declining to his low water marks or several points within them.
Since 2010, Republicans have vowed to pass a bill to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, former president Barack Obama’s signature domestic legislative achievement that has provided health insurance to millions of Americans.
Repealing and replacing the law, commonly known as Obamacare, was also a key promise Trump had made on the campaign trail.
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