Politics

Trump Calls Schumer ‘Head Clown’ Over Obamacare Stance

President-elect bashes top Senate Democrat, then calls for parties to ‘get together’ on replacement bill

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer, right, conducts a news conference after the Senate luncheons in the Capitol on Wednesday. President-elect Donald Trump harshly criticized him on Twitter on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President-elect Donald Trump on Thursday harshly accused Democrats of refusing to talk with Republicans about a health care law replacement plan, using a series of tweets to brand Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer his party’s “head clown.”

The latest Trump broadside on one of his foes came via the same platform many others have: Twitter. In a series of posts on the social media site around 7 a.m. Eastern time, the president-elect again exhibited behavior that breaks with just about every one of his predecessors in recent memory.

[House GOP Hails Pence as Obamacare Slayer]

The businessman and former reality television host both bashed Schumer, who on Wednesday said the onus is on congressional Republicans and the incoming Trump administration to craft a replacement plan for President Barack Obama’s health care law, and called for the New York Democrat’s party to negotiate with the GOP.

“The Democrats, lead by head clown Chuck Schumer, know how bad Obamacare is and what a mess they are in. Instead of working to fix it, they ..” Trump wrote in the first of three posts, leaving off the last part of an ellipsis.

The second tweet was fired off four minutes later — the president-elect averages a few minutes in between posts during a Twitter rant. This one seemed to take umbrage with Democrats’ message on Wednesday, which included an unwillingness to even discuss the size and shape of a plan to replace Obama’s signature health care law.

In the tweet, Trump hit Democrats for what he sees as them doing “the typical political thing and BLAME.”

After hammering Democrats and engaging in some name-calling, Trump then turned to a call for bipartisan work on a replacement bill that would install a health care regime “much less expensive & EVEN BETTER” than the current one.

Schumer responded a few hours later, saying at a press conference that “this is serious serious stuff.”

“People’s health is at stake and people’s lives are at stake,” he said. “Instead of calling us names, President-elect Donald Trump should roll up his sleeves and come up with a replacement plan.”

The minority leader and members of his party, following a meeting with Obama at the Capitol on Wednesday, stood firm when asked by reporters about the chances for a bipartisan replacement package.

“They are voting for repeal, it is their obligation to come up with replace,” Schumer said. “The insurance market could fall apart long before the repeal goes into place. … Republicans seem determined to create chaos.”

Trump and congressional Republicans are on track to put a repeal measure into law during his first 100 days in office, with some House GOP members saying the plan is to get a measure to the new president’s desk in February. It would leave the health care law in place until the factions within the Republican Party can agree on a plan to replace it.

[Senate Republicans Start Obamacare Repeal Process]

Democrats showed some of their cards on Wednesday, warning of “chaos” if 22 million people who bought insurance under the Obama law are simply left without coverage should Republicans repeal it but fail to come up with a replacement plan of their own.

The message from Obama during a closed-door meeting Wednesday that lasted around 90 minutes was summed up this way by Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly of Virginia: “Every American who loses health care, make sure they know the Republican repeal bill did it.”

Bridget Bowman and Kellie Mejdrich contributed to this report.

Contact Bennett at johnbennett@cqrollcall.com. Follow him on Twitter @BennettJohnT.

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