President Donald Trump blamed John McCain, Republican congressional leadership and just about everyone else in federal government—except himself—for the stalling of his conservative agenda, with no major legislative accomplishments yet to show during his presidency.
As the president was about to host a joint press conference with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday afternoon, he suddenly declared himself free of all blame regarding a number of critical legislative issues, from the failure to overturn Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) to the fact his fledgling tax reform plan could lack the support it needs to pass through Congress.
"We’re not getting the job done," Trump said to reporters who were allowed into the room after he met with his Cabinet. "And I’m not going to blame myself. I’ll be honest. They are not getting the job done."
Trump praised himself for having "great relationships with many senators," and then called out Republican Senator John McCain for his "no" vote on a health care bill that would have gutted the Affordable Care Act.
"We had health care approved and then you had a surprise vote by John McCain," Trump said. "We've had other things happen, and they’re not getting the job done."
The president said he "can understand where Steve Bannon is coming from," alluding to recent interviews in which the former White House chief strategist lambasted the GOP establishment and promised a "season of war" against lawmakers in Washington who aren’t pro-Trump.
"Obamacare is finished, it’s dead, it’s gone," Trump said Monday. "It’s no longer, you shouldn’t even mention, it’s gone. There is no such thing as Obamacare anymore, it’s gone...we're working on some kind of short-term fix prior to Republicans getting together, maybe with some Democrats."
He then stepped out into the Rose Garden with McConnell, where the two announced lawmakers were devising an "intermediate" health care plan. Trump then said he and McConnell were "closer than ever before," and that they were working toward the same goal.
Trump reportedly finds it difficult to make friends with members of the Republican leadership, however, calling House Speaker Paul Ryan a "boy scout" in private and claiming it’s difficult to even make small talk with McConnell. Meanwhile, the top Senate Democrat, Chuck Schumer, was recently caught on a hot mic describing a dinner he had at the White House with the president, telling Democratic colleagues Trump "likes us—he likes me, anyway."
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