Real-estate tycoon Donald Trump expressed disgust with the “gross incompetence” of congressional Republican leadership in an interview that aired Thursday night.
The Republican presidential front-runner said he was outraged after Fox News host Sean Hannity asked him about the budget deal reached on Capitol Hill this week.
“You look at what’s going on with our budget process, it’s a disaster. It’s a joke. It’s a joke. If it weren’t so hurtful, you’d all start laughing right now,” Trump said.
“It’s very, very sad,” he added. “These are people — do they know anything about a budgetary process? I don’t think so.”
Earlier in the week, congressional leaders agreed to a massive tax-and-spending package that gave both Democrats and Republicans victories on some of their key issues. The omnibus funding bill passed the House of Representatives with more than 300 votes, including a majority of Republican members. The White House has said President Barack Obama will sign the package into law.
But many conservative activists and pundits view the deal as a betrayal of their principals.
During Trump’s interview with Hannity, the Fox host blasted a litany of items he said were included in the package. Hannity cited so-called sanctuary cities, refugee programs, and Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
Trump, who frequently brags about his negotiating prowess, lamented that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) did not threaten to shut down the government as leverage for the deal.
“The budget is very disappointing. You look at what’s going on and you look at Paul Ryan and how easy it seems to be for the Democrats to get whatever they want. And there’s never any threat, and there’s never any negotiation, it seems,” Trump said.
Instead, Trump said, his party’s congressional leaders immediately fold in order to avoid a government shutdown.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” he reflected. “And you know if there’s a shutdown, it won’t be very long. The biggest problem is every time anybody mentions that just as a threat, immediately the Republicans say, ‘It will never happen. It will never happen.’ So now they have already lost the negotiation.”
Trump also hit Ryan for supposedly supporting the “amnesty.”
“It’s so sad to look at it and to see the incompetence — frankly on both sides — but to see the gross incompetence, I don’t know,” Trump said. “Look, Paul Ryan, he’s a very nice person. But he’s always been very weak on illegal immigration. He’s been strong on amnesty.”
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