McConnell and Trump Relationship Takes a Nosedive

By Esme Cribb Updated at 2017-08-23 03:26:04 +0000


The Cold War between President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has iced over into a nuclear winter, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.

The New York Times reported, citing more than a dozen unnamed sources briefed on McConnell’s and Trump’s working relationship, that the uneasy partnership has become “a feud of mutual resentment and sometimes outright hostility.”

According to the report, McConnell “has privately expressed uncertainty that Mr. Trump will be able to salvage his administration” after a tumultuous summer, and has not spoken to the President in weeks.

Before silence descended between the two Republican leaders, according to the New York Times, Trump and McConnell had a “profane shouting match” on a phone call earlier in August.

In that conversation, Trump accused McConnell of bungling Obamacare repeal and suggested that McConnell had not sufficiently protected him from the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, unnamed Republicans briefed on the conversation told the New York Times.

On McConnell’s part, the New York Times reported, citing unnamed sources who have spoken with the Senate leader, he described the President as completely unwilling to learn how to govern and has questioned whether Trump is a fit leader for the Republican Party as it heads into the 2018 midterm elections.

Earlier in August, McConnell appeared to be battening down the hatches against Trump’s onslaught of tweets and public criticism. His office referred TPM to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) amid a barrage of remarks from Trump, who said McConnell’s failure to pass an Obamacare repeal was “a disgrace.”

McConnell has strong support from his conference and is relatively secure in his position as a result, but some of his colleagues in the Senate are less lucky. Vulnerable Republicans like Sens. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Dean Heller (R-NV) have drawn Trump’s ire, resulting in a presidential tantrum that could spill over into the 2018 midterm elections and have lasting consequences for the size of McConnell’s majority.