Trump targets congressional Republicans on multiple fronts

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President Trump on Tuesday assailed congressional Republican leaders for allowing a veto override of must-pass defense policy legislation and for not backing his election fraud claims, while pressuring GOP members to quickly pass a bill boosting stimulus checks.

The remarks, which Trump made in a series of tweets while on vacation in Palm Beach, Fla., underscored the growing divide between Trump and his own party on multiple fronts.

Republicans fear that Trump’s divisive comments on the presidential election in particular could threaten GOP chances of retaining the Senate majority, which hangs in the balance of the Senate runoffs in Georgia next week.

Trump tweeted Tuesday morning that Republican leaders were “weak and tired” for allowing a veto override of the defense policy bill, known as the National Defense Authorization Act. Trump vetoed the legislation last week because it does not include a repeal of Section 230, a tech company liability shield, and includes a provision mandating the renaming of Confederate-named military bases.

“A disgraceful act of cowardice and total submission by weak people to Big Tech. Negotiate a better Bill, or get better leaders, NOW! Senate should not approve NDAA until fixed!!!” Trump tweeted before leaving his Mar-a-Lago beach club for his golf course in West Palm Beach.

The House voted Monday to override Trump’s veto of the defense bill, with 109 Republicans breaking with Trump to support the action. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) signaled later Tuesday that lawmakers have the two-thirds majority needed to override the veto, though it’s unclear precisely when it will be brought to the floor for a vote.

Trump also continued to insist that the election was “stolen” from him and criticized Republicans for not forcefully backing his unsubstantiated claims about widespread voter fraud, calling them “pathetic” while taking credit for their elections.

“Republican leadership only wants the path of least resistance. Our leaders (not me, of course!) are pathetic,” Trump tweeted Tuesday. “They only know how to lose! P.S. I got MANY Senators … and Congressmen/Congresswomen Elected. I do believe they forgot!”

Trump has periodically lashed out at Republicans for not backing his efforts to overturn the election results. He has lambasted the Republican governors of Georgia and Arizona after their states certified election results showing Joe Biden won the White House race and amplified criticism of McConnell after he recognized Biden as the winner of the election.

Trump last week endorsed a primary challenge against Senate GOP Whip John Thune (S.D.), after he predicted that efforts to challenge the Electoral College vote would “go down like a shot dog” in the upper chamber.

Later Tuesday afternoon, Trump also reacted to news that McConnell had blocked an effort by Democrats to set up a stand-alone vote on a measure increasing recently-authorized stimulus payments from $600 to $2,000.

Trump urged Senate Republicans to approve the increase as soon as possible, saying it would be a “death wish” not to do so.

“$600 IS NOT ENOUGH! Also, get rid of Section 230 – Don’t let Big Tech steal our Country, and don’t let the Democrats steal the Presidential Election,” Trump tweeted upon returning from his golf club. “Get tough!”

The president’s tweet signaled that he would continue to pressure Republicans to take up the vote on stimulus checks soon.

Under pressure, Georgia GOP Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler backed efforts to increase the amount of stimulus payments to $2,000 after Trump began vocally demanding the increase last week. Both are facing Democratic challengers in Jan. 5 runoffs that will decide the majority in the Senate for the next two years.

McConnell earlier on Tuesday appeared to signal his plan to tie the $2,000 checks to a repeal of Section 230 an investigations related to the election, two issues that if tied to the direct payments would ensure Democratic opposition and the failure of the larger package.

“During this process, the president highlighted three additional issues of national significance he would like to see Congress tackle together,” McConnell said.

Tags 2020 election Coronavirus David Perdue direct payments Donald Trump Joe Biden John Thune Kelly Loeffler Mitch McConnell Section 231 stimulus checks

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