BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — As Senate Republicans struggle to get enough support to pass the GOP health care bill, a tweet from President Donald Trump is stealing the spotlight once more.
Trump on Sunday tweeted a mock video that shows him pummeling a man in a business suit — his face obscured by the CNN logo — outside a wrestling ring.
It’s not clear who produced the brief video, but it was posted from Trump’s official Twitter account with the hashtags #FraudNewsCNN and #FNN, short for “Fake News Network.”
Trump’s been stepping up verbal attacks on the media — and cable networks particularly. At an event in Washington sponsored by an evangelical megachurch Saturday, the president railed against the so-called mainstream media.
“The fake media tried to stop us from going to the White House, but I’m president and they’re not,” he said.
Regarding his latest tweet, an adviser said Sunday “no one would perceive that as a threat. I hope they don’t.”
White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert also tells ABC that he thinks Trump’s “beaten up in a way on cable platforms that he has a right to respond to.”
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said last week Trump “in no way, form or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence.””
On Sunday, CNN responded to the president’s latest tweet.
A network spokesperson said: “It is a sad day when the president of the United States encourages violence against reporters. Clearly, Sarah Huckabee Sanders lied when she said the president had never done so.”
The CNN spokesperson added that Trump: “is involved in juvenile behavior far below the dignity of his office. We will keep doing our jobs. He should start doing his.”
The tweet came as Republican lawmakers had been hoping for a vote on the Senate health care bill to end Obamacare. But no such thing is coming this holiday weekend.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) was forced to delay the vote after a congressional budget report showed 22 million more Americans would be uninsured under the GOP plan.
Trump now suggests Republican leaders should repeal Obamacare immediately and replace it later. The newfound approach was an idea drafter by Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska).
“If we can do a combined repeal and replace over the next week that’s great. If we can’t though, there’s no reason to walk away,” Sasse said. “We should do a repeal with a delay.”
Not all Republicans are on board with the idea. McConnell said the senate will continue to pursue a joint repeal and replace of the Affordable Care Act and “stick with that path.”
And the “repeal now, replace later” notion is not just an internal party dispute.
“I have a lot of respect for Senator Sasse, but that idea is an absurd idea,” said U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont). “The CBO indicated that if you simply repeal the Affordable Care Act, you will throw 30 million Americans off health insurance.”
The vote on health care will be delayed until after the July 4 recess. Every Democrat is expected to oppose the bill, which means three Republican “no” votes would block it.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)