Carlos Barria | Reuters
President Donald Trump talks with reporters as he departures the Oval Office of the White House for Indianapolis, in Washington D.C., U.S. September 27, 2017.
President Donald Trump is needling his party’s top senator — again.
Following the latest Obamacare repeal failure in the Senate, Trump is urging Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to scrap the chamber’s “horrible” filibuster rule. The measure allows senators to block bills unless they can get 60 votes.
McConnell and numerous other Republican senators have repeatedly said they have no interest in getting rid of the filibuster.
“They have to get rid of the filibuster rule. Otherwise … they’re just making a mistake,” Trump said in comments aired Thursday on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends.”
Trump also called on McConnell to drop the rule after previous Senate failures to overhaul the health-care system this year. The president also urged the change during a speech Wednesday on tax reform and in a tweet earlier in the day.
We will have the votes for Healthcare but not for the reconciliation deadline of Friday, after which we need 60. Get rid of Filibuster Rule!
Changing the rule would not have helped. The GOP, which holds 52 Senate seats, failed to secure even a majority vote for multiple plans to repeal or replace Obamacare under the budget reconciliation process.
Trump’s comments come as more questions have emerged about McConnell’s leadership. Aside from the health-care stumbles, McConnell took a hit this week when the candidate he backed, Sen. Luther Strange, lost the Alabama Senate primary to hardline conservative judge Roy Moore.
During his campaign, Moore repeatedly attacked McConnell’s leadership.
Asked by Fox if he had confidence in McConnell, Trump said, “I do.” But he stressed that he wants the senator to scrap the filibuster rule, which he called a “disaster” for the Republican Party.
Trump also repeated an unfounded claim that Republicans had the votes to pass the Graham-Cassidy Obamacare repeal bill if a senator had not been in the hospital. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., was in his home state recuperating from a procedure, but was not in the hospital.
Republicans lost the three votes that killed the bill — Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, John McCain, R-Ariz., and Rand Paul, R-Ky. — with or without Cochran.