by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Sarah Westwood of the Washington Examiner reports on the latest signs of a strained relationship between President Trump and congressional Republicans.
President Trump’s decision on Wednesday to side with the Democratic leaders advocating a short-term increase in the nation’s debt limit rankled Republicans in Congress and ripped open old wounds with conservatives who opposed him during the primaries.
Many Republican lawmakers and aides expressed a sense of shock and feelings of frustration on Wednesday with Trump’s sudden overture to the Democrats. Some pointed to the decision as proof that the president has little personal commitment to the fiscal conservatism he spouted on the campaign trail. This in turn raised questions about how effectively the White House can marshal support for its tax reform plan from the same GOP members whose wishes Trump ignored in the debt ceiling fight.
Just hours after House Speaker Paul Ryan called a three-month extension of the debt limit “unworkable,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi claimed victory coming out of a meeting in the Oval Office with congressional leaders, Trump and senior administration staff.
Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin had pushed Trump during the meeting to consider a longer debt ceiling increase, one that lasted up to 18 months or, as a compromise, at least six months. But Trump ignored their suggestions in favor of a package that some Republicans said would give an advantage to Democrats who hope to secure unconditional legislative protections for people covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Trump moved to rescind this week.
“This is beyond ridiculous. The best Trump could get was Dec. 15th? What a total clown show,” said a senior GOP aide shortly after details of the plan emerged.