McConnell Doubts "Trump Can Save Presidency" As Relationship "Disintegrates"

According to a new bombshell report from the NYT, the relationship between President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has "disintegrated" in recent week "to the point that they have not spoken to each other in weeks", prompting the Kentucky senator to express doubts if Trump can succeed in office and "salvage the presidency" after a summer of controversies and crises.

The relationship between President Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, has disintegrated to the point that they have not spoken to each other in weeks, and Mr. McConnell has privately expressed uncertainty that Mr. Trump will be able to salvage his administration after a series of summer crises.

 

What was once an uneasy governing alliance has curdled into a feud of mutual resentment and sometimes outright hostility, complicated by the position of Mr. McConnell’s wife, Elaine L. Chao, in Mr. Trump’s cabinet, according to more than a dozen people briefed on their imperiled partnership. Angry phone calls and private badmouthing have devolved into open conflict, with the president threatening to oppose Republican senators who cross him, and Mr. McConnell mobilizing to their defense.

In a phone call on Aug. 9, Trump blamed McConnell for the Senate's troubled efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The Times said the call descended into shouting and profanity.

During the call, which Mr. Trump initiated on Aug. 9 from his New Jersey golf club, the president accused Mr. McConnell of bungling the health care issue. He was even more animated about what he intimated was the Senate leader’s refusal to protect him from investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to Republicans briefed on the conversation. Mr. McConnell has fumed over Mr. Trump’s regular threats against fellow Republicans and criticism of Senate rules, and questioned Mr. Trump’s understanding of the presidency in a public speech. Mr. McConnell has made sharper comments in private, describing Mr. Trump as entirely unwilling to learn the basics of governing.

While McConnell was reportedly troubled by Trump's remarks that placed equal blame on hate groups and counterprotesters, that was just the tip of the iceberg of the pent up animosity between the two.  The Senator also signaled his unease with Trump’s comments to business leaders who quit their posts on presidential advisory councils in recent days, the NYT reports. But the straw that broke the camel's back was last month's failure by the Republican controlled Senate to pass Obamacare repeal, a humiliating defeat for Trump's main campaign promise.

McConnell said in a speech earlier this month that Trump had "excessive expectations" about moving his legislative agenda through Congress. That led Trump to repeatedly lash out at McConnell on Twitter, questioning why McConnell has not been able to accomplish longtime GOP campaign promises.  Trump went so far as to suggest to reporters at his Bedminster, N.J. golf club that, if McConnell is unable to pass healthcare reform, tax reform and an infrastructure bill through the Senate, he should consider stepping aside from his leadership role.

for the two GOP heavyweights walking into a month of serious major political maelstroms with the debt ceiling, spending bill, tax reform, and a retry at healthcare looming–among other fights. Both Trump and McConnell themselves refused comment for the Times story, but McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said the president and majority leader had “shared goals” including “tax reform, infrastructure, funding the government, not defaulting on the debt, passing the defense authorization bill.”

But while the bad blood between the two is hardly news, the question is how will the allegedly tamer, and Bannon-free Trump react to the previously unreported news that McConnell has wondered whether Trump’s presidency will survive:

In offhand remarks, Mr. McConnell has expressed a sense of bewilderment about where Mr. Trump’s presidency may be headed, and has mused about whether Mr. Trump will be in a position to lead the Republican Party into next year’s elections and beyond, according to people who have spoken to him directly. While maintaining a pose of public reserve, Mr. McConnell expressed horror to advisers last week after Mr. Trump’s comments equating white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., with protesters who rallied against them. Mr. Trump’s most explosive remarks came at a news conference in Manhattan, where he stood beside Ms. Chao.

As the NYT adds, McConnell will no longer be silent should Trump use the bully pulpit for future attacks. Instead, McConnell is now fully committed to firing back at Trump, and protecting his GOP senators.

In a show of solidarity, albeit one planned well before Mr. Trump took aim at Mr. Flake, Mr. McConnell will host a $1,000-per-person dinner on Friday in Kentucky for the Arizona senator, as well as for Senator Dean Heller of Nevada, who is also facing a Trump-inspired primary race next year, and Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska. Mr. Flake is expected to attend the event.

It's not just the Senate majority leader: McConnell allies like former Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire and former Republican National Committee finance chair Al Hoffman are quoted as well, making ominous predictions about Trump.

“Failure to do things like keeping the government open and passing a tax bill is the functional equivalent of playing Russian roulette with all the chambers loaded,” Gregg said of Trump, blaming him for in the Times’ words “undermining” congressional leaders, adding that if Trump “can’t participate constructively” the House and Senate would take matters into their own hands.

“Ultimately, it’s been Mitch’s responsibility, and I don’t think he’s done much,” Hoffman said, slightly critical of McConnell before adding that he believes McConnell will outlast Trump in this stalemate. “I think he’s going to blow up, self-implode,” Hoffman said of the president, per the Times. “I wouldn’t be surprised if McConnell pulls back his support of Trump and tries to go it alone.”

Whatever Trump's kneejerk reaction following the conclusion of tonight's Phoenix rally, the biggest loser may be the market which today surged on a Politico report that Trump's tax reform suddenly looks like it has a chance of passing. If the NYT report confirms one thing, it is that when it comes to Trump's legislative agenda, any chance of success in the through the Senate is virtually nil.

Comments

QIG Aug 23, 2017 7:46 PM Permalink

McConnell is a mother hen sitting on a nest of liars. They spoke of just waiting for a chance to cancel Obama care, the tax shakedown scam, for 7 years, yet when the time came, they did not. He is leader of nothing, a wimp posing as a leader. Bug eyed, near sighted, baby skinned mudturtle wimp. Looks like a frog in a suit. Trump may or may not lose his Presidency (doubtful unless he decides to quit), but McConnell may be lucky not to lose his job and have his life ruined, and 63 million citizens will not shed one single tear. Go ahead close the governement. I hope that Trump makes them bend their knees before he gives them a dime for anything. Let them go into veto override to get money, and let's see how many survive 2018.

JBPeebles Aug 23, 2017 2:46 PM Permalink

McConnell is a realist in ways Trump can't fathom. To be successful at politics, you have to have an understanding of how the system works.Now you can say the system is corrupt and whoever therefore runs that system is corrupt, evil or whatever. But the fact remains that in our system McConnell leads the Senate which is Republican. Trump can claim leadership but he doesn't know how the system works or he wouldn't have disrespected the key players in it.Whatever Trump's positions, succeeding in politics is about effectiveness. Without gaining trust and improving working relationships, there isn't a productive outcome. McConnell's been disrespected in public, which is a bad political move as that has repercussions far beyond what you say in private.Neither Obama nor Trump know how to grind and work with people. It's as if the identity politics have interjected themselves into working relationships which are about work. Trump benefits from getting his legislation passed. He can't do that without the Senate. And being angry about the failure of his agenda means in Washington speak, that you aren't leading in the system we presently have, with McConnell there and continuing to be probably past Trump's last days.The onus is on Trump for failing to lead. This requires an understanding of the system, not just some infantile, emotionally charged public rant when things don't go the way he wants. If anything, Trump's faux populism is showing up in Deep State moves on Afghanistan.Bernie at least knew how to work the system and would have been able to work with GOP Senators for the better of the country. Health care was such a huge fail and Trump continues to reveal his ignorance and utter incompetence for the job. This is based on erroneous Tea Party presumptions about how our government actually works, confusing the ideal with the reality.

ElTerco Aug 23, 2017 12:26 PM Permalink

Sorry, but this NYT article is designed to stir the shit rather than report the news. I'm not sure why this article is appearing on ZH.

Swamidon Aug 23, 2017 12:09 PM Permalink

Trump has revealed himself as less than we'd hoped and not much better than Shillary.  It's no longer possible to support him.  Patriots and Deplorables need to use his time in office to form a 3rd Political Party that doesn't depend on Trump in any way.  Use him before the country cuts him loose.

Old Poor Richard Aug 23, 2017 11:32 AM Permalink

Crazy old turd isn't going to save his next primary.  Refuses to repeal Obamacare.  Refuses to pass tax cuts.  Refuses to build a wall.  Refuses immigration reform.  McConnell and Ryan are full-blooded Democrat swamp creatures and their days are numbered in Congress. 

wolf pup Aug 23, 2017 11:04 AM Permalink

And here begins the big stab at the Great Trump Takedown.
With their timed "Ye Gads! Russia!!!" winding down, (yet w/Mueller in the wings awaiting word he must act, or there's no need to act), it's onto the Big Shebang: a seemingly universal "Chorus of the Corrupted" in loud and daft harmonics, whispering in a discordant shriek of faux horror, "Trump's Gone Mad!", and hilarity will ensue.

"It's grave. Such a danger to this PLANET EARTH. Sadly, Trump just couldn't handle the pressure and we've watched him devolve mentally since 20-01. It's with GREAT SORROW we must remove this President on behalf of HUMANITY. Our great respect for the seat of the US Presidency rules our decisions today. No one is happy about this. It's with heavy hearts blah blah puke.." -- Ryan, Schumer, McConnell, McMasters et al; the DC UniParty.

Episode 3,217 of The Great Charade for the Herd to masticate o and cower beneath.

Heh.

Clapper cited in U.K. Press today (lol yup! Citing Clapper on Trump as if it's his innocent fear speaking here..): "Mr Clapper described Mr Trump's address at a rally in Phoenix on Tuesday night as "downright scary and disturbing" and said that the president may be "looking for a way out".
"I question his fitness to be in this office and I also wonder if he is looking for a way out," Mr Clapper, who has served both Republican and Democratic administrations, said.

He added that Mr Trump could be a threat to national security.

"I worry about access to the nuclear codes if he decided to do something, in a fit of pique, to tackle Kim Jong-un... It's pretty damn scary," he said on CNN, the news network that had come under particular attack from the president during his speech.

Aaaaaand they're off to the races.

wolf pup Aug 23, 2017 10:14 AM Permalink

GOP has stymied Trump at each step of the way - barely able to choke out a pat on the back when he gave MIC control of ... so much.

He could hand them Mars and they'd just stare at him in their utterly out of touch dementia caused by the DC bell jar pulled down around their sanctimonious asses. Hubris and Don't Give a Shitedness reigns.

McConnell is now, along with McCain and Flake, a living hero according to DNC/CNN et al. They looooove them all.
If that doesn't make ya wanna hurl you've a stronger tum than I.

McConnell will play it as the GOP has played this since Jan. 20: full of duplicitous shit up to his beady eyeballs.

Can you imagine the clandestine meetings the hold? Phone calls, fly ins. Romneyites. McVainistans. Schuuuuumah. (Yes. I know. Party means nothing as Trump's Takedown means all).

LOSERS all gabbling like chickens and giggling like schoolgirls as they sip brandy and plot the BigTakedown that keeps eluding them.

I'd enjoy a few sips of brandy at their ultimate demises. But alas, like their uselessness, they just endure.

tstpilot00101 Aug 23, 2017 9:19 AM Permalink

Mitch is the one who will not survive.  He just doesn't realize it yet.  Forget waiting for the next election cycle for congress-- why can't we start RECALL petitions on these POS and get them out NOW?  That'll wake 'em the fuck up.

JPMorgan Aug 23, 2017 8:51 AM Permalink

Trump NEVER stood a chance at being the US President.He simply isn't one of 'them' hence they will not allow him to get anything done.They want him to fail, and want everyone who voted for him to see what happens when they don't vote the way they want them to.It is a total waste of 4 years, but I do not blame Trump... any outsider would be getting the same brick wall treatment. 

BetterRalph Aug 23, 2017 8:42 AM Permalink

Writing congress was like writing the enemy, now you can see it Freaking WAS writing the enemy!

Shut down the 'SPY' | 'RiNG'.

Imagine handcuffs okay. that will go a long way to ending the bad legislation.

LOOK AT CALIFORNIA it's disgusting.

What wonderful Ideas to be used to STAB the COUNTRY IN THE BACK, did we all give our senators, writing them 18 hours a day, day after day after day? I bet everything suggested they FIX they just financed and rolled it out.

Imaging your a systems administrator and you want to attack all your users, you can code well and adapt to anything thrown at you, and if you get too deep you know people to bring in to help get the job done. Now imagine the most darkest BOFH pits of hell evil you could roll out on your enemy. Yeah that's what the SENATE did with our letters to them, built a Dyncorp compromised JTTF protected police state. Senators out here in California, Openly supporting COMMUNISM.

Find out who in the Senate is being blackmailed, enough of these turtles and senators with gun ban bills, climate change fraud and open border treason.

pc_babe Aug 23, 2017 8:36 AM Permalink

McConnell at war with 70% of his Party and his Prez (not my prez champion)... really rich, mitch.

The sad thing, after lying to the peeps of Kentucky about REPEAL to get a vote, the mumbling, incontinent tool stabs them in the back at every turn. He doesn't come up for relection 'til 2020.

In KY his approval is 18%.
In KY Trumps approval is 60%.

You wont ever hear the press discuss it. Instead they carry Mitch's water and help ....whiiiisper .... from the deeps recesses of mitch's press room ... [mumble] im not sure he is going to make it.

Which side is Mitch and the Press on??

The enemy of my enemy is my friend ... mitchy knows the game well

Time for a vote of no confidence in KY and the Senate

Dickweed Wang Aug 23, 2017 8:29 AM Permalink

McConnell's "way of governing" is exactly what got the USA into the mess it is in right now so I have no problem with his assertion that "Trump doesn't understand the rules of governing".Also, in the case where Trump may oppose some repube senator and McConnell would back that same person I know where my support would go and it sure wouldn't be with Mitchy.

Cman5000 Aug 23, 2017 8:24 AM Permalink

Notice how quiet Pence is this is House of Cards season 6 playing out.. I think they actually might remove him from office mentally unfit. Which they can do. Go along with Dems for impeach is a no go. So removing him via the unfit for office seems to be the way they're going. This will be cluster fuck of a Constitutional crisis or worse.

overmedicatedu… Aug 23, 2017 8:17 AM Permalink

Trumps light like Diogenes, looking for the honest man in DC..all the while his light is showing us the truth of DC..corrupt lazy and filled with tyrants. perhaps the election of 2018 will clean house.

Totally_Disill… Aug 23, 2017 8:15 AM Permalink

It's been abundantly clear the GOPe has tried at every opportunity to scuttle the Trump Presidency.  Thought the President was the party leader and the party supported the national planks adopted at the convention?  What we have here is a power structure that won't allow democracy.

Loanman26 Aug 23, 2017 8:08 AM Permalink

Mitch and the other turncoats in Congress know that Trump is not one of them.Their gig is up if Trump succeeds.From behind the curtain Obama & Valerie are operating the Trump end run.The heat is about to be turned up. The people of this country that voted for Trumpare realizing that it doesnt matter, if the choice of attorneys and charges on the Awan caseare any indication.The Clintons should be swinging from a rope.The Deep State lagooners are still running the facade. 

Occams_Razor_Trader Aug 23, 2017 7:43 AM Permalink

When McConnell and his band of Bolshevik RINOs ran a campaign they ran on the very things that Trump wants to do, yet they've obstructed every move in an attempt to 1) either send this President a message about who really is in power or 2) they didn't really want to do the things they promised on the campaign trail.Ether way- I would be hard pressed to EVER vote (R) again- I'm not spiteful to vote (D) but I gave the weekly RNC caller an earful on Monday. He was going on about the Deep State and the media going after Trump- I told him in no uncertain words- the media I can ignore- The Republics that refuse to support the President from their party are a cancer. One of the main reasons I voted for Trump was the Supreme Court- now with the bending left of Roberts- are we so sure a conservative SC Justice can stay Conservative against constant Deep State pressure?

Totally_Disill… Occams_Razor_Trader Aug 23, 2017 8:42 AM Permalink

Agreed.  While I continue to support the Trump presidency and look to some of the campaign promises coming to pass, I'm guarded in Trump's ability to turn things around without a cohesive communication plan that counters the media/anti-Trump narrative.  His accomplishments are drowned out by fake news on protests and the GOPe are obstructing with Trump merely countering with tweets against McConnell and Ryan.  May work in his former world, but certainly not in Washington.  These people are snakes and Trump has underestimated them.  Taking the high road and being gentile does little to counter punch.

In reply to by Occams_Razor_Trader