In this June 6, 2017 file photo, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. listens as President Donald Trump, speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. (Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais, AP)
President Trump insisted that the “only problem” he has with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is that he failed to get senators to repeal and replace Obamacare, days after an explosive New York Times piece disclosing that the two men haven’t spoken in weeks.
The Times piece described how McConnell “privately expressed uncertainty” that Trump will be able to get his administration back on track after an onslaught of controversies.
USA TODAY previously reported that McConnell spent an entire night debating how to respond to Trump’s turbulent news conference last week equating counter protesters with the neo-Nazis they came to resist. McConnell’s anger — and the difficulty he felt responding to the leader of his party — highlights the quandary facing many Republicans in the aftermath of Trump’s comments blaming “both sides” for violence that ended in the death of 32-year-old counter-protester Heather Heyer.
On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders released a statement saying Trump and McConnell “remain united on many shared priorities, including middle class tax relief, strengthening the military, constructing a southern border wall, and other important issues.” McConnell, too, also released a statement saying he and the president have shared goals and their teams are still in “regular contact.”
Yet Trump also took a jab at Republican leaders on another front: the debt ceiling.
McConnell has promised to raise the debt ceiling before the end of September deadline — around the same time lawmakers need to pass a new government spending deal. On Tuesday, Trump said he would be willing to shut down the government if it does not include money to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Trump says he asked McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., to tie debt ceiling legislation into a veterans affairs bill. Trump predicts the coming fights will be “a mess.”
Contributing: Heidi Przybyla
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