Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellEXCLUSIVE: Trump allies rally around Sen. Flake’s primary challenger GOP senators rally to McConnell’s defense amid Trump attacks Flake voices support for McConnell amid Trump attacks MORE (R-Ky.) did not intend to pick a fight when he questioned President Trump’s expectations and was surprised by the explosion it produced, according to people close to the Senate GOP leader.
McConnell and Trump spoke Wednesday about what McConnell’s allies characterized as a misunderstanding, but that did little to quell the president’s anger.
“We should have had healthcare approved,” Trump said Friday from his New Jersey golf club. “[McConnell] should have known that he had a couple of votes that turned on him and that should have been very easy to handle, whether it’s through the fact that can take away a committee chairmanship or do whatever you have to do.”
Sources close to McConnell say he is stunned by Trump’s attacks, which have only increased in recent days, as an attack on a member of his own team.
Some in the Trump administration, however, think McConnell should have seen it coming.
A senior administration official expressed “100 percent agreement” with the president that McConnell has not done enough to advance his legislative agenda.
The source cited McConnell’s failure to pass healthcare reform and the record-slow pace in confirming his nominees to key executive branch positions.
Trump and his allies recognize he was elected to the White House despite the barrage of personal attacks from Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonJudge orders new search for Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi emails Chance the Rapper: ‘I have a bigger voice than Donald Trump’ Bill and Hillary Clinton to take questions at joint Dallas appearance MORE because voters want accomplishments that will change the status quo.
The administration delegated the repeal and replacement of ObamaCare to McConnell and Speaker Paul RyanPaul RyanTrump sparks debate over war resolution for North Korea Senator: Brain tumor, late night may have influenced McCain’s health vote Dems slam GOP lawmakers for not holding town halls MORE (R-Wis.) and they’re not getting the job done.
“People think Mitch maybe has lost a step,” said the source.
While McConnell argues he worked hard and exhausted every option to pass ObamaCare repeal legislation, the source pointed out that senators just left town for a four-week break from Washington.