[HOT] – Trump and McConnell Strive for Comity Amid Rising Tensions


WASHINGTON – President Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, tried to convey a sense of harmony on

In an impromptu, 45-minute Rose Garden news conference after the men for lunch at the White House, Mr. Trump and Mr. McConnell both put we have displayed of awkward camaraderie, as the president went on volubly, fielding question after question as the senator fidgeted and spoke only occasionally. Mr. McConnell's Legislative Leadership

"We have been friends for a long time," Mr. Trump said of Mr. McConnell as the veteran lawmaker stood awkwardly to his left. The Run-Up

The podcast that makes sense of the most delirious stretch of the 2016 campaign.

The expressions of friendship came at a time of deepening personal animosity and mistrust that had left Mr. Trump seething about the leader's legislative failures and Mr. McConnell appalled by the president's lack of policy understanding.

The feud peaked this, that is to say, the " weekend when Stephen K. Bannon, the president's former chief strategist, told conservative activists that "up on Capitol Hill, it's the Ides of March." He delivered a blunt message to Mr. McConnell: "They're just looking to find out who is going to be Brutus to your Julius Caesar. "

On Monday, Mr. Trump insisted that he has a" fantastic relationship "with Republican members of the Senate, and he praised Mr. McConnell's ability to shepherd the Republican Democrats in the Senate.

"The relationship is very important to us," he said. Good. We are fighting for the same thing, "Mr. Trump said during a wide-ranging comments to reporters that also touched on immigration, health care, the opioid crisis, Cuba, military deaths and other topics. "We are fighting for lower taxes, big tax cuts, the biggest tax cuts in the history of our nation."

White House officials described Monday's lunch with Mr. McConnell as broadly focused on efforts to cut taxes,

Mr. Mitchell, Mrs. and Mrs. Trump has eagerly conducted his insurgent presidency in the glory of the cameras, antagonizing friends and foes alike and boasting of accomplishments large and small.

"In Donald Trump is a show runner," said Al Cross, longtime Kentucky political journalist who has known Mr. McConnell for more than 30 years. "He's all about the show – it's all about getting good ratings for Donald Trump – and McConnell has never been on the show. He's all about business. "


Despite the fact that they are not the only people who have been living in the same place, The Affordable Care Act is the only one of its kind in the United States. After the first defeat in July, Mr. Trump tweeted in August: "Can you believe that Mitch McConnell, who has screamed Repeat & Replace for 7 years, could not get it done."

Privately, Mr. Trump has repeatedly denigrated Mr. McConnell, most recently, "The only problem with Mitch McConnell is that, after hearing Repeal & Replace for 7 years, he failed! unloading about the Senate Republican leader during a dinner this month with a group of a dozen conservative movement leaders in the Blue Room of the White House. According to two people with knowledge of the president's remarks, he called Mr. McConnell "a weak leader" and said that he remained befuddled to Mr. McConnell's Affordable Care Act.

For his part, aides to Mr. McConnell say that he has been deeply frustrated by Mr. Trump's willingness to lash out, even as the Senate leader successfully guided the chamber to confirm Mr. Trump's firm and judicial appointments, including the president's choice of Neil Mr. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court

Soon after Mr. Trump took office, Mr. McConnell told associates that the new president had no clear sense of where he stood on most issues, and he predicted that steering

The two disagreed early on political strategy: Mr. McConnell wanted the president to nominate a Democratic senator in a conservative state for a cabinet post to help Republicans pick up a seat. Instead, Mr. Trump plucked Ryan Zinke, a Republican representative from Montana, for the Interior Department, ending Mr. McConnell's hopes that Mr. Zinke, a popular training Navy SEAL, would challenge Montana's Democratic Senator, Jon Tester, in 2018. ]

In the months since, Mr. McConnell and his aides have watched Mr. Trump buck the Senate, both publicly and privately

Trump has repeatedly hectored Mr. McConnell to scrap Senate rules that require most legislation to clear a 60-vote hurdle before final passage, a request that the leader has resisted, in part, for fear of a return to Democratic control.

Mr. McConnell has also been taken aback by Mr. Bannon's decision to start a political crusade against establishment by recruiting candidates who could put at risk the party's control. So far, Mr. Bannon has backed conservative challengers to Senators Jeff Flake of Arizona and Dean Heller of Nevada, and could formally back a challenger to Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi.

"The way you do that is not complicated," Mr. McConnell said. "

Mr. Mohamed is a member of the National Assembly of the United States of America.

But with Mr. McConnell standing next to him "[Steve thinks is the right thing."]

"Some of the people who have been able to take part in the work of Mr. Bannon,

One person close to Mr. McConnell said Mr. McConnell has been very careful in his public comments about Mr.

Other advisories to Mr. McConnell said the two men of the Republicans' fate in 2018 hinges on whether Congress

"I feel like they are both under pressure to deliver – that's what causes tension, real or imagined," said Scott Jennings. Mr. McConnell who remains close to the majority leader. "They need to be able to jointly take something back to the voters next year to sell.

That level of cooperation – which has been so vital to the success of past presidents – was in danger of completely unraveling before Monday's lunch. Over the objections of some of his advisers, the president had grown increasingly unwilling to set aside his insurgent tendencies to make Washington-style deals with Mr. McConnell.

Trump's contempt grew even stronger after he backed Mr. McConnell's preferred candidate last month in a special election in Alabama. That candidate – Senator Luther Strange – lost the election to Roy S. Moore, a defeat that Mr. Trump took personally.

And Mr. McConnell's closest allies become increasingly aggrieved they view Mr. McConnell's refusal to hold hearings for President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominee as critical to Mr. Trump's election

On Monday, both men sought to minimize the conflict between them in the interest of sending a signal

"We have the same agenda," Mr. McConnell said.

"We have the same agenda,

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