President Donald Trump slammed Senate Republicans on Saturday, tweeting that they “look like fools” and directly urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to alter the chamber’s rules so the party can pass legislation with a simple majority.
But a McConnell aide said it’s not going to happen.
The president began the day after he fired his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, the former Republican National Committee chairman with relationships on Capitol Hill, by attacking his party’s Senate GOP caucus after its members failed to pass a health care overhaul bill.
He also tweeted that Senate Democrats, if they had the chance, would change the chamber’s rules to pass bills with 51 votes.
In one of a handful of tweets that seemingly came out of the blue Saturday morning, the 45th president wrote that McConnell “must get rid of 60 vote NOW!” because that threshold to end debate and move to a final vote is “killing the R Party, allows 8 Dems to control country.”
He alleged that “200 Bills sit in Senate” and cannot be voted on, calling the situation “A JOKE!”
Republican Senate must get rid of 60 vote NOW! It is killing the R Party, allows 8 Dems to control country. 200 Bills sit in Senate. A JOKE!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2017
Trump has on multiple occasions tweeted his support for ending the 60-vote threshold, including as recently as Friday morning.
In another rather confusing tweet on Saturday, Trump criticized the Republicans’ use of budget reconciliation rules — which allow for legislation to be passed with the 51-vote threshold he is advocating.
He wrote that “reconciliation is killing R’s in Senate,” then took his plea directly to the majority leader: “Mitch M, go to 51 Votes NOW and WIN. IT’S TIME!”
The very outdated filibuster rule must go. Budget reconciliation is killing R's in Senate. Mitch M, go to 51 Votes NOW and WIN. IT'S TIME!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2017
The majority leader made his stance clear in April. A McConnell spokesman on Saturday said his views have not changed.
“There’s no sentiment to change the legislative filibuster,” the Kentucky Republican told reporters then. Asked if he was committing to not changing the rules to end debate on legislation while he remained the GOP leader, McConnell replied: “Correct.”
“The entire Republican conference agrees with the leader on this,” the McConnell aide said Saturday.
Trump, however, disagrees.
“They look like fools and are just wasting time,” the president wrote of his party’s senators in a series of tweets that suggested he does not fully grasp Senate rules or its dynamics.
Republicans in the Senate will NEVER win if they don't go to a 51 vote majority NOW. They look like fools and are just wasting time......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2017
He charged in another tweet that the 60-vote rule means “8 Dems totally control the U.S. Senate,” though it was three dissenting Republican senators who derailed McConnell’s efforts to pass a health care measure to start a conference committee process with the House to send a bill to Trump’s desk.
In the same head-scratching tweet, Trump contended that terminating the 60-vote rule to pass legislation with 51 votes would help the GOP “complete Healthcare.”
....8 Dems totally control the U.S. Senate. Many great Republican bills will never pass, like Kate's Law and complete Healthcare. Get smart!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2017
The president also went after Senate Democrats, tweeting his certainty that if they regain the majority, “they would switch to a 51 majority vote in first minute. They are laughing at R’s. MAKE CHANGE!”
A Schumer aide said Saturday the minority leader opposes changing the rules to get rid of the 60-vote threshold.
If the Senate Democrats ever got the chance, they would switch to a 51 majority vote in first minute. They are laughing at R's. MAKE CHANGE!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2017