President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell faced reporters side by side on Monday amid the stagnation of the Republican congressional agenda and a looming civil war over Republican Senate candidates.
Both Trump and McConnell made clear that they would work to wave Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, off races where a contested GOP primary may yield a candidate who can’t win in a general election. The two leaders — at odds for weeks over tactics, pace and priorities — projected unity on agenda items from tax reform to healthcare, promising speedy results in the dwindling number of days left on the year’s legislative calendar.
McConnell came to the White House at the president’s invitation. Vice President Mike Pence, chief of staff John Kelly and White House legislative director Marc Short had pressed for a public detente between Trump and McConnell, a Republican close to the White House told the Washington Examiner.
“[T]this type of change tends to happen from the inside and not from outside pressure from the Senate,” the Republican said. “It occurred now in order to head off further erosion in the relationship between the White House and Senate Republicans after Trump attacked McConnell and [Sen. Bob] Corker repeatedly.”
Trump’s relationships with Republicans on Capitol Hill had frayed in recent weeks as a feud with Corker, a retiring Tennessee senator, spilled into the open and his legislative deals with top Democrats raised concerns among congressional conservatives.
SOURCE: Sarah Westwood
The Washington Examiner