Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell all but confirmed reports of a nasty feud with President Donald Trump by releasing a statement about their ‘regular contact’ and ‘shared goals.’
The statement, issued by the powerful leader’s office Thursday, makes no effort to deny reports of angry phone calls, profanity – or a claim that he himself privately questioned whether Trump can effectively lead republicans in 2018.
Instead, it runs through a list of mostly modest legislative goals to keep the government humming – just hours after Trump at a boisterous Phoenix rally threatened to shut down the government if necessary to get funds to construct a wall on the southern border.
‘The President and I, and our teams, have been and continue to be in regular contact about our shared goals,’ McConnell said in the statement.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement after reports he and President Trump haven’t spoken for weeks
Then he ran through a list of goals for the year – without addressing reports that he and Trump haven’t spoken since an angry August 9 phone call, where Trump complained about his failure to push through an Obamacare repeal.
‘We are working together to develop tax reform and infrastructure legislation so we can grow the economy and create jobs; to prevent a government default; to fund the government so we can advance our priorities in the short and long terms; to pass the defense authorization and defense appropriations bills so we can support our troops and help implement an effective strategy against ISIL; to provide relief from Obamacare; and to continue our progress for our nation’s veterans,’ McConnell said.
Government funding expires at the end of September.
President Donald Trump spoke at a rally with his supporters in Phoenix Tuesday, and went after the Senate filibuster rule on Wednesday
‘We have a lot of work ahead of us, and we are committed to advancing our shared agenda together and anyone who suggests otherwise is clearly not part of the conversation,’ said McConnell.
Trump took another shot at the Senate – and by association McConnell – Wednesday morning.
Trump tweeted his support for ending the legislative filibuster, a move longtime insider McConnell opposes and has ruled out.
‘If Republican Senate doesn’t get rid of the Filibuster Rule & go to a simple majority, which the Dems would do, they are just wasting time!’ Trump tweeted.
McConnell, a creature of the Senate, a body Trump is still trying to grapple with, shot down the idea when Trump put it out in May.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement where he wrote he and President Trump ‘are committed to advancing our shared agenda together’
‘We have a lot of work ahead of us, and we are committed to advancing our shared agenda together and anyone who suggests otherwise is clearly not part of the conversation,’ said McConnell
‘That will not happen,’ McConnell said. ‘There is an overwhelming majority on a bipartisan basis not interested in changing the way the Senate operates on the legislative calendar” McConnell told reporters.
The tweet came hours after Trump floated the idea of shutting down his own government as a way to force construction of a border wall.
‘If we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall’ Trump said – raising the prospect of a messy government shutdown that GOP senators hope to avoid.
As soon as lawmakers return from their recess, they must deal with a looming budget deadline and the need to raise the debt ceiling.
Trump and McConnell got into a ‘profane shouting match’ in early August, The New York Times reported.
President Donald Trump’s legislative agenda has been stymied, and has lashed out at senators, Senate leaders, and the Senate rules
Trump went after Arizona Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain Tuesday, but not by name
One of those on Trump’s hitlist is Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, who has questioned Trump’s stability. A McConnell-affiliated SuperPAC has released a video slamming Flake’s opponent
The two men have not spoken since, according tot he report, which added that McConnell has begun questioning whether Trump will even make it to the end of his term after a string of PR disasters this summer.
McConnell did push through a rules change that ended the filibuster for Supreme Court justices, after keeping a court vacancy for nearly a year to help install Justice Neil Gorsuch on the high court.
The fiery confrontation between McConnell and Trump came during an August 9 phone call initiated by Trump, who was at his New Jersey golf course, Republican sources briefed on the conversation told the NYT at the time.
They said Trump felt betrayed after McConnell remarked that the president’s expectations were too high with regard to Obamacare.
But he also blamed McConnell for not protecting him from the investigation into Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election, they said.
In private, McConnell also made sharp remarks about Trump’s lack of knowledge about the presidency, and his unwillingness to learn the basics of governing, sources said.
He’s also said – in ‘offhand remarks,’ according to the report – that he is worried and baffled by where Trump is taking his presidency, and questioned if Trump will even be able to lead the party during the 2018 elections.
On Thursday, Trump launched a Twitter attack against Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, who criticized Trump’s ‘nationalism’ and ‘instability’.
‘Great to see that Dr Kelli Ward is running against Flake Jeff Flake, who is WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate,’ Trump wrote, ‘He’s toxic!’
Mitch McConnell has doubts about whether Donald Trump will make it to the end of his presidential term after a summer of disasters, insiders claim
On Tuesday, he made a barely veiled reference to Flake at a rally in Phoenix.
‘Nobody wants me to talk about your other Senator, who is weak on borders, weak on crime, so I won’t,’ he said.
‘Nobody wants me to talk about him, nobody knows who the hell he is. See, I haven’t made any names, now everybody’s happy.’
That same day, a SuperPAC allied with McConnell published a video titled ‘Chemtrail Kelli’ that painted Ward as a conspiracy-loving wingnut with the tagine ‘Not conservative. Just crazy ideas.’