The Latest: Trump escalates feud against Senate leader

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump's criticism of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (all times EDT):

8 p.m.

President Donald Trump is escalating his feud against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Trump was asked if McConnell might have to think about stepping aside if he doesn't deliver on the president's agenda of health care, taxes and infrastructure. The president says that if McConnell can't make progress on those issues, "then you can ask me that question."

Trump calls McConnell's failure to pass a health care bill last month "a disgrace."

Trump also says he is "very disappointed in Mitch" but would be the first to praise him if legislation begins moving.

The president was speaking to reporters in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he is in the midst of a 17-day break from Washington.

There was no immediate response from McConnell's office.


2:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump is suggesting that the Senate's top Republican should step aside if he can't pass Trump's legislative agenda.

Trump says, "You can ask the question" about whether Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should remain in his position if he cannot pass a plan to repeal and replace health care, change the tax code and move an infrastructure proposal.

The president was speaking briefly to reporters during a 17-day trip to New Jersey and New York City, where he maintains homes.

Trump has been sniping at McConnell for several days on Twitter, a reaction to McConnell's earlier remarks that the president was new to Washington and doesn't realize how difficult it is to pass legislation.


1:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump clearly has the Senate majority leader on his mind.

For the third time in two days, Trump is using Twitter to tweak Mitch McConnell. In an almost patronizing tone, he's urging the Kentucky Republican to plunge into work on health care and other issues, though Congress is on recess until next month.

Trump tweeted Thursday afternoon, "Mitch, get back to work and put Repeal & Replace, Tax Reform & Cuts and a great Infrastructure Bill on my desk for signing. You can do it!"

The president has also jeered McConnell for last month's defeat of a Republican effort health care bill despite seven years of GOP promises to repeal the Obama health care law.


11:15 a.m.

The White House says there's "some frustration" with the Senate's top Republican. It's the latest development in a continuing feud between President Donald Trump and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Trump resumed his taunts of McConnell on Thursday, using Twitter to express disbelief that the Senate leader couldn't get Republicans to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Asked afterward about Trump's relationship with McConnell, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders says: "You can see the president's tweets. Obviously there's some frustration. I don't have anything more to add."

The president bristled this week after McConnell told an audience that Trump had "not been in this line of work before" and had "excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process."


8:02 a.m.

President Donald Trump is escalating a feud with his party's leader in the Senate. Trump is expressing disbelief that that Sen. Mitch McConnell couldn't persuade a Republican majority to pass a health care bill.

Trump tweeted Thursday: "Can you believe that Mitch McConnell, who has screamed Repeal & Replace for 7 years, couldn't get it done. Must Repeal & Replace ObamaCare!"

The president bristled this week after McConnell told a crowd in Kentucky that Trump had "not been in this line of work before" and had "excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process."

Trump retorted on Twitter that "Senator Mitch McConnell said I had 'excessive expectations,' but I don't think so."

GOP senators have talked about moving on to other priorities, but Trump has not relented.

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