News Analysis: Trump's spat with powerful GOP leader could backfire

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-11 11:00:38|Editor: Yamei
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by Matthew Rusling

WASHINGTON, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Donald Trump is involved in a tit-for-tat spat with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and experts said that will prevent the GOP from passing any important legislation.

Tensions began a few weeks ago when the GOP-led Senate failed to pass a repeal and replacement of Obamacare -- the healthcare system implemented by the previous administration. The GOP had promised its supporters for years that it would kill and replace the controversial law.

Trump has been admonishing the party to continue to try and pass a replacement, but the GOP has decided that they would turn to other legislative matters after members return from their August recess.

The billionaire president expressed annoyance with McConnell this week, after McConnell said publicly that Trump had "excessive expectations" for the legislative agenda he hopes to pass. He added that Trump "has not been in this line of work before," a thinly veiled jab that suggested the president lacks experience.

Trump hit back on Wednesday, saying via social media platform Twitter:

"Senator Mitch McConnell said I had 'excessive expectations,' but I don't think so. After 7 years of hearing Repeal & Replace, why not done?"

On Thursday, Trump tweeted: "Can you believe that Mitch McConnell, who has screamed Repeal & Replace for 7 years, couldn't get it done. Must Repeal & Replace Obamacare!"

Dan Mahaffee, senior vice president and director of policy at the Center for the Study of Congress and the Presidency, told Xinhua: "At a time when it is already difficult for the GOP to chart a united course ... increasingly public spats between leaders and various factions of the party will only make united action more difficult."

"While this isn't a sign of a growing rift in the GOP, yet, it does reflect a dynamic where President Trump sees himself as different from the GOP establishment," Mahaffee said.

"Throughout his political ascension, there was always a distance between Trump and the traditional GOP - both in policies and in the operation of the campaign," Mahaffee said.

"Trump feels the pressure of not having a major legislative accomplishment at this point in is first term and he is scapegoating the GOP Senate leadership," Mahaffee said.

Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Darrell West told Xinhua that there is a rift between Trump and McConnell because of the president's unhappiness over the healthcare failure.

"He thinks the Majority Leader gave up too early and still should focus on repeal," he said.

"This split is ominous because Trump cannot get any legislative passed without McConnell," West said, adding that attacking McConnell will "further the GOP divisions and make it even more difficult to pass legislation."

Obamacare has many supporters as well as many critics. Supporters note that the law provides healthcare for millions of Americans who previously did not have coverage. Opponents call the law a jobs killer and say it will increase taxes, among other criticisms.