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Trump Questions McConnell's Future

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President Donald Trump suggested Aug. 10 that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should step down from his position if he fails to have a number of Trump's priorities passed in the Senate.

Trump's comments came after several days in which the two Republicans have traded differing points of view on the failure by the Senate to repeal Obamacare, The Associated Press reported.

Trump declared from his golf course in New Jersey that the failure to pass a bill replacing Obamacare in July was "a disgrace."

Reporters then asked the president if McConnell should step aside or retire.

"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," Trump added, according to the AP.

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Trump referred to McConnell in a series of tweets Aug. 9 and 10.

"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!" he wrote on Twitter Aug. 10.

The dispute started Aug. 7 when McConnell told an audience in Kentucky that Trump had "not been in this line of work before” and had “excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process."

Trump reacted in a Twitter post critical of McConnell.

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Newt Gingrich, a Trump adviser and former Republican leader in the House, thought the confrontation was ill-advised.

"You saw Mitch McConnell say something, you saw Trump say something, when it's obviously better for them to learn not to do that," added Gingrich. "They have to work together. Governing is a team sport."

Gingrich argued that Trump bore some responsibility for health care.

"The fact is with a very narrow margin -- 52 people -- Mitch McConnell got 49 out of 52," added Gingrich, according to The Washington Post. "I think the president can't disassociate himself from this. [Trump] is part of the leadership team. He is not an observer sitting up in the stands. He is on the field. It was a collective failure."

McConnell appears to still have strong backing from Senate Republicans. Orrin Hatch, a senior Republican senator, wrote on Twitter that McConnell "has been the best leader we've had in my time in the Senate, through very tough challenges. I fully support him."

Some white House advisers indicated that the goal of Trump's comments was to maintain the support of his base outside Washington.

However, one anonymous adviser suggested that the strategy would backfire.

"This strategy only alienates his Republican colleagues on Capitol Hill that he needs to move his agenda," the adviser told The Post. "The reality is that the president is now part of this process despite his frustrations, and yelling at his Senate quarterback isn't going to help achieve these wins."

Sources: AP, The Washington Post / Featured Image: The White House/Flickr / Embedded Images: The White House/Flickr, Caleb Smith via Wikimedia Commons

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