After health care failure, Trump slams GOP senators as ‘fools’ who are ‘wasting time’

The president is calling for changes to Senate rules that reveal he doesn’t totally understand how the Senate works.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump. CREDIT: AP Photo
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Donald Trump. CREDIT: AP Photo

In a rambling series of tweets posted Saturday morning, President Donald Trump attacked GOP senators for allowing their Democratic colleagues to “totally control the U.S. Senate,” saying they “look like fools.”

Trump’s tweets, which come on the heels on the Senate’s failure to advance a slimmed down Obamacare repeal bill early Friday morning in one of the chamber’s last-ditch efforts to roll back health reform, call for changing Senate rules to remove the 60-vote threshold for legislation. Trump tweeted that the “very outdated filibuster rule must go” so Republicans are able to better advance their legislative agenda with a 51-vote majority.

Confusingly, however, the president also attacked the budget reconciliation process that allowed Republicans to attempt to repeal major parts of Obamacare with the 51-vote threshold he favors, saying that “budget reconciliation is killing R’s in the Senate.”

Trump made a similar appeal for a 51-vote threshold earlier this month after an Obamacare repeal bill failed in the Senate, tweeting that “the Senate must go to a 51 vote majority instead of current 60 votes.”


But it’s unclear that a 51-vote threshold would actually solve Republican Party’s health care struggles. As Senate Republicans have been scrambling to get enough votes to advance Obamacare repeal, multiple pieces of health care legislation put up by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have failed to get 50 votes. Every time an Obamacare repeal measure has failed in the Senate over the past several weeks, it’s been because some Republican lawmakers have also cast votes against it.

Despite Trump’s personal appeal to McConnell—tweeting “Mitch M, go to 51 votes NOW and WIN” — a McConnell aide was quick to confirm to Roll Call that filibuster changes are not likely to happen.

McConnell has been dismissive of Trump’s previous calls to change the filibuster rules. Back in May, when Trump said the 60-vote threshold should be removed to more easily get approval for his proposed border wall, the majority leader said filibuster reform “will not happen,” adding that “there is an overwhelming majority on a bipartisan basis not interested in changing the way the Senate operates on the legislative calendar.”

The president hasn’t always been so eager to get rid of the filibuster. In 2013, after Democratic senators voted to ban filibusters from being used to block President Obama’s nominees for top jobs in his administration, Trump tweeted disapprovingly.

Trump has repeatedly blamed a small group of Democratic lawmakers for blocking his party from passing a health care reform bill, even though Republicans control both chambers of Congress and the White House.