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Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell spar over Republicans' failure to repeal Obamacare

Failure of the Republican Party to repeal and replace Obamacare has started an intra-party squabble between President Donald Trump and party's Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, with both criticising each other openly.

McConnell fired the first shot on Monday, partly blaming Trump for setting "artificial deadlines, unrelated to the reality of the complexity of legislating", which resulted in the perception that Republicans have failed to follow through on their campaign promises.

"Our new president has, of course, not been in this line of work before and I think had excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process," McConnell added, reported CNBC.

Trump on Wednesday hit back at him on Twitter:

The exchange came less than two weeks after the Senate rejected repeated attempts by McConnell to muscle legislation through his chamber, scuttling President Barack Obama’s health care law. The House of Representatives approved its version in May, but its Senate failure — thanks to defecting Republican Senators — marked the collapse of the party's attempt to deliver on vows to erase Obama's law.

One of the most prominent promises of his presidential campaign, the repeal of Obamacare, has been high on Trump's priority ever since he took up the reins.

Trump had repeatedly used Twitter to pressurise McConnell to find votes to repeal the health care bill. But his tweet on Wednesday was an unusually personal reproach of the 33-year Senate veteran, reported AP, adding McConnell is deeply respected by his Republican colleagues and Trump will need him to guide the next major Republican priority through the chamber — a tax system overhaul.

Citing an unnamed source, The New York Times wrote that before his tweet, Trump spoke on phone with McConnell to express his disappointment in the senator's comments about him, and reiterated his resolve to repeal the law.

Republicans have a 52-48 majority in the Senate, making the crash of their bill acutely painful for the party. Yet, The New York Times wrote that by antagonising McConnell, Trump risks upending an already charged relationship with lawmakers who have joined him in the Republican government.

With inputs from AP.

Updated Date: Aug 10, 2017 17:45 PM

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