Polling His Popularity, Trump Needles McConnell on Health Care

WASHINGTON (CN) – For the second time in as many days, President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Thursday to chide Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell about the federal health care law.

“Can you believe that Mitch McConnell, who has screamed Repeal & Replace for 7 years, couldn’t get it done,” Trump tweeted early this morning. “Must Repeal & Replace ObamaCare!”

The early morning tweet is a continuation of the president’s singling out of the one man tasked with leading the GOP in the Senate.

But later on Thursday afternoon, the president seemed to take a different approach with McConnell: encouragement.

“Mitch, get back to work and put Repeal & Replace, Tax Reform & Cuts and a great infrastructure Bill on my desk for signing. You can do it!” the president tweeted just after 1 p.m.

He softened the rhetoric again when speaking with reporters at his New Jersey golf club on Thursday.

“Well, I’ll tell you what,” the president said, according to a White House pool report. “If he doesn’t get repeal and replace done, 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 that done, then you should ask me that question.”

Just a day earlier, between raising the specter of nuclear war with North Korea and retweeting “Fox & Friends” news reports about the escalating tensions on the peninsula, the president goaded McConnell over comments he made to a rotary club meeting in Kentucky days earlier.

McConnell reportedly told rotary guests that the president’s lack of political experience was to blame for the delays around repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He said part of the reason the Senate is viewed as “underperforming” is because of “artificial deadlines” and “excessive expectations” the president imposes on Congress.

A representative for Sen. McConnell did not immediately return a request for comment.

White House officials reported that Trump and McConnell spoke by phone on Wednesday, with health care and its future under the administration dominating conversation.

After firing off another tweet at McConnell on Thursday morning, the president also retweeted a poll that asks followers who made for a better president – himself or former President Barack Obama. The poll was followed by another message – this time a retweet from “Fox & Friends,” depicting a warning from Secretary of Defense James Mattis to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Mattis warned the regime that it is “grossly overmatched” in a standoff against the United States.

The president will likely scale back any public appearances today. The White House agenda for Thursday indicates that the president and Vice President Mike Pence are only scheduled to meet for lunch this afternoon at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

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