Trump sug­gests Se­nate GOP leader must de­liver or step aside

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD -

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump es­ca­lated a stun­ning feud against his top Se­nate part­ner Thurs­day, sug­gest­ing Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell might have to think about step­ping aside if he doesn’t de­liver on the pres­i­dent’s agenda of health care, taxes and in­fra­struc­ture.

Trump called McCon­nell’s fail­ure to pass an “Oba­macare’’ re­peal last month “a dis­grace.’’ Asked if McCon­nell should con­sider step­ping aside or retiring, an out­come some con­ser­va­tives are openly clam­our­ing for, the pres­i­dent’s re­sponse was far from a vote of con­fi­dence.

“Well I 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,’’ the pres­i­dent told re­porters in Bed­min­ster, New Jersery, where he is in the midst of a 17-day golf va­ca­tion.

There was no im­me­di­ate re­sponse from McCon­nell’s of­fice.

A sit­ting pres­i­dent openly turn­ing on a Se­nate ma­jor­ity leader of his own party in such a fash­ion is prac­ti­cally un­heard of — yet an­other norm de­stroyed since Trump’s rise on the po­lit­i­cal scene. And while the fight­ing words might elate Trump’s core sup­port­ers, they can only hurt broader Repub­li­can ef­forts to move ma­jor leg­is­la­tion this fall on taxes and spend­ing while pre­par­ing for con­gres­sional elec­tions next year where en­er­gized Democrats are ral­ly­ing to re­take the House. Repub­li­cans con­trol both cham­bers, but the Trump fac­tor in many races re­mains a mys­tery.

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