Trump doubles down on pivot to congressional Democrats

Michael Walsh
Reporter

President Trump lashed out at Republicans in Congress on Friday for failing to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act since it was signed into law seven years ago.

In Friday morning tweets, Trump sarcastically apologized to members of his own party before chastising them for failing to follow through on his well-known campaign promise. He also conceded that Republican senators might never pass adequate legislation to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.



Of the 100 seats in the Senate, Republicans have 52 and Democrats have 48, including two independent senators who caucus with them. In order to clear a legislative filibuster, Republicans need at least eight votes outside their caucus.

On Wednesday, Trump cut a deal with Democratic leaders in Congress to avert a fiscal crisis and keep the government open for another three months — catching some Republicans off guard and arguably empowering the Democratic minority. Trump and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., even reportedly reached a deal to permanently scrap the debt ceiling issue that House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., opposes.

In another action that irked the GOP, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday that she persuaded Trump to tweet a message of comfort to young immigrants protected from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which the administration is ending.

“For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about – No action!” Trump wrote.

The moves elicited grumblings from Republicans. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who’s been known to reach across the aisle himself, told the Washington Post that he’s never “seen anything like it before.”

“I have no way of divining his motives. I’m a pretty intelligent guy, but I don’t understand this,” McCain added.

Vice President Mike Pence and President Trump meet in the Oval Office with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other congressional leaders, Sept. 6. (Photo: Evan Vucci/AP)

Mark Walker, the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, lambasted the deal and wrote a letter to Ryan arguing that a “clean” debt limit increase would simply “increase the borrowing power of the government” while ignoring the pressing need for reform.

“Worse yet is attaching the debt limit to legislation that continues the status quo or even worsens the trajectory on spending, such as the deal announced yesterday by the President and Congressional Leadership,” Walker wrote.

Matthew Continetti, the editor in chief of the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative website, said that Republican leaders should not be surprised by Trump’s actions.

“For the Republican leadership to keep thinking Donald Trump is on their team is like Charlie Brown letting Lucy hold the football,” Continetti told Politico. “Have people not been watching Donald Trump for two years?”

On Friday morning, Trump fired off another tweet, encouraging Republicans to pass tax cut legislation before the end of the month.


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