Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Monday expressed frustration with what he called President Trump’s “excessive expectations” of the legislative process as Republicans struggle to chalk up major achievements under a united government.
During a speech to the Florence Rotary Club in Kentucky, McConnell said many of Trump’s “artificial deadlines” are “unrelated to reality,” indicating the president may not fully grasp the ins and outs of lawmaking.
“Now 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 said.
“And so, part of the reason I think people feel like we’re underperforming is because too many artificial deadlines unrelated to the reality and the complexity of legislature may not have been fully understood.”
McConnell’s speech comes less than two weeks after the Senate failed by one vote to move forward on plans to repeal and replace ObamaCare.
Trump took to Twitter to criticize McConnell, calling for changes to the legislative filibuster, which the majority leader has rejected in the past.
“The very outdated filibuster rule must go. Budget reconciliation is killing R’s in Senate. Mitch M, go to 51 Votes NOW and WIN. IT’S TIME!” Trump said on July 29, though the healthcare overhaul failed to get to 50 votes.
McConnell on Monday said the deadlines placed on Congress are “irritating” and compared the Trump administration’s progress so far to that of former President Obama’s.
“People frequently ask me, ‘What’s being the majority leader of the Senate like?’” McConnell said. “The best answer I’ve been able to come up with is a little bit like the groundskeeper at a cemetery. Everybody’s under you, but nobody’s listening.”
McConnell blamed Trump’s “early timelines” for why Americans think Congress is not accomplishing its goals.
“A Congress goes on for two years,” McConnell explained. “And part of the reason I think that this storyline is that we haven’t done much is because in part the president and others have set these early timelines about things need to be done by a certain point.”