- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 10, 2017

President Trump said Thursday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell must prove he can get things done with a GOP majority or else it will be time to talk about ousting the longtime Republican floor leader.

After a week’s worth of back-and-forth, Mr. Trump said it was a “disgrace” for the Senate to fall one vote shy of approving an Obamacare repeal and replacement bill, and said Mr. McConnell will now have to prove himself on the looming tax reform debate and on an infrastructure package the president has been promising for months.

Asked if he wanted Mr. McConnell ousted, Mr. Trump said check back after those issues go through Congress.

“Then you can ask me that question,” he told reporters prodding him on Mr. McConnell’s fate.

Mr. McConnell earlier this week chided the president for overhyping expectations by setting timelines for legislative action. The Kentucky senator said the legislative process was new to Mr. Trump.

The president, though, said the GOP had been promising repeal for years — and even passed a bill that President Obama vetoed — yet Mr. McConnell can’t even get that bill through his chamber anymore.

“All I hear is repeal and replace, then I get there, i say where’s the bill, I want to sign it, first day. They don’t have it,” he said in a brief press conference at his New Jersey golf course, where he’s taking a summer vacation.

Mr. Trump hinted he may turn to Democrats to work on the infrastructure package in order to secure a victory.

“I want a very big infrastructure bill,” he said. “We may even get bipartisan on infrastructure.”

The very public battle between Mr. McConnell and Mr. Trump has pushed other Republicans to pick sides.

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, the senior Republican in the upper chamber, called Mr. McConnell “the best leader we’ve had in my time in the Senate.”

“I fully support him,” the Utah senator said on Twitter.

But GOP candidates looking to run for the Senate are siding with Mr. Trump, saying Mr. McConnell has bungled things and failed to deliver.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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