After his party's stinging defeat over health care legislation, President Trump tweeted Saturday that the Republicans in the Senate "look like fools" and should do away with the filibuster, even though scrapping a 60-vote requirement would still not have saved the doomed bill.
The president's tweetstorm comes barely a day and a half after Senate Republicans failed to muster even the 50 votes needed to pass a "skinny" bill to repeal key parts of Obamacare, or the Affordable Care Act.
The narrowly written bill was crafted under the budget reconciliation rules specifically to avoid requiring a 60-vote threshold, but it still failed to win even 50 votes, despite Republican control of the chamber 52 to 48.
Three Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and John McCain of Arizona, voted "no," joining the solid 48-vote Democratic bloc to scuttle the legislation.
On Saturday, Trump charged, however, that eight Democrats "totally control the U.S. Senate" and that many great Republican bills would fail under the current rules.
"Republicans in the Senate will NEVER win if they don't go to a 51 vote majority NOW. They look like fools and are just wasting time...." the president wrote.
In fact, the Republicans really needed only 50 votes in the health care debate because Vice President Pence could have provided a tie-breaker.
"Republican Senate must get rid of 60 vote NOW! It is killing the R Party, allows 8 Dems to control country. 200 Bills sit in Senate. A JOKE!" the president tweeted at 7:20 a.m.
Nineteen minutes later, he hammered away at the same theme: "The very outdated filibuster rule must go.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!"
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, while scrapping the filibuster for judicial appointments and the Supreme Court, has so far made it clear that he does not support doing away with the filibuster for most legislation.
One key reason: It would offer his party leverage if and when they should fall into the minority in the future.
Trump's current views on the filibuster is in sharp contrast to a tweet from 2013, when he blasted then Majority leader Harry Reid for scrapping the filibuster for presidential appointments below the Supreme Court level. At that time, Trump tweeted: "Thomas Jefferson wrote the Senate filibuster rule. Harry Reid & Obama killed it yesterday. Rule was in effect for over 200 years."
A few hours after his tweets on the filibuster, Trump was back on Twitter Saturday afternoon with a couple of dire messages aimed at congressional Republicans.
“After seven years of "talking" Repeal & Replace, the people of our great country are still being forced to live with imploding ObamaCare!” he wrote.
“If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!”
In the last tweet, Trump appeared to be threatening to eliminate cost-sharing reduction subsidies, which reimburse insurers for covering out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles and co-pays for low-income exchange enrollees.
Trump's twitter attack on the subsidies brought a quick retort from Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.
"If the president refuses to make cost-sharing reduction payments, every expert agrees that premiums will go up and health care will be more expensive for millions of Americans," the New York Democrat said in a statement.
"The president ought to stop playing politics with people's lives and health care, start leading and finally acting presidential," Schumer said.
In yet another tweet, Trump insisted the battle to repeal and replace Obamacare isn’t over – unless Republicans give up.
“Unless the Republican Senators are total quitters, Repeal & Replace is not dead!” he wrote. “Demand another vote before voting on any other bill!”