- REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
President Donald Trump said he understands why former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon is fueling primary challenges against certain incumbent Republican senators, laying blame to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for inaction in Congress.
“I understand fully how Steve Bannon feels,” Trump told reporters during Monday’s cabinet meeting.
“Steve is very committed,” Trump said. “He’s a friend of mine. He’s very committed to getting things passed.”
“Despite what the press writes, I have great relationships with actually many senators,” Trump said. “But in particular, with most Republican senators.”
He also suggested he is free from blame in the failed attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, citing the Republicans who voted against the plan, Arizona Sen. John McCain in particular.
“But we’re not getting the job done and I’m not gonna blame myself, I’ll be honest,” Trump said. “They are not getting the job done.”
“There are some Republicans that, frankly, should be ashamed of themselves,” Trump added.
Since departing from the White House, Bannon has began pushing far-right Republicans to challenge incumbent senators he deems too establishment and cooperative with McConnell. It has been reported that Bannon is nudging Blackwater founder Erik Prince to challenge Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso and is potentially getting involved with Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel in an attempt to unseat Sen. Roger Wicker in Mississippi.