Trump Encourages Detente Between Bannon And McConnell As Tax Reform Deadline Looms

After yesterday’s Rose Garden press conference, where President Donald Trump and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell assured reporters that they have a “good” relationship, they appear to have put their widely publicized feud behind them. But having patched things up with McConnell, Trump is now reportedly trying to convince his one-time employee, former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, to temporarily suspend his attacks on “establishment” Republicans while Trump tries to unify Republicans around his tax-reform plan and the administration scrambles to meet its self-imposed year-end deadline to pass what would be its first major legislative achievement.

However, despite Trump’s public pleas for Bannon to stand down, the Breitbart chief is refusing to play ball. Bloomberg is reporting, citing anonymous sources who are presumably close to Bannon, that the former Trump campaign chief executive has refused to abandon his war against congressional Republican incumbents, further imperiling Trump’s tax-reform plans.

Bannon’s message, Bloomberg says, was aptly encapsulated by a headline that ran on Breitbart on Monday. It reads: “Bitter Mitch! Triggered by Bannon.”

The headline was affixed to a story about the Bannon-allied Great America Political Action Committee on Monday endorsing its “Trump Ticket” for the Republican primaries, which includes Kelli Ward, who is challenging incumbent GOP Senator Jeff Flake in Arizona, and in Wisconsin, Kevin Nicholson, who has said he would vote against re-electing McConnell as majority leader.

There are deep fears in the White House and among Republicans that the tax overhaul, considered vital for next year’s midterms by the party’s strategists, will follow Obamacare repeal to the legislative ash heap. That would likely leave Trump without a substantive legislative accomplishment after a year in office.

Since the Senate’s fractious Republican Caucus has already let Trump down by twice failing to pass Obamacare, the president is understandably seeking to hedge by making overtures to Democratic senators in states that he carried during the campaign.

Last week, reports surfaced that McConnell was courting West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin III, one of the last remaining conservative-leaning Democratic lawmakers, to try and gain his vote on tax reform.

Meanwhile, Trump has invited Democratic Senators Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Debbie Stabenow to the White House.

In a sign of his increasing concern about the tax overhaul, Trump also sought to cover his bases with the opposition party, inviting Democratic senators Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Deborah Stabenow of Michigan to participate in a meeting at the White House on Wednesday. Both are members of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, and both face re-election next year in states Trump carried.

As Bloomberg points out, Republicans are defending just eight senate seats in 2018. And only one of those seats – held by Dean Heller of Nevada – is in a state that was carried by Clinton. Therefore, Republicans are for more afraid of losing a primary to a far-right candidate than they are of their Democratic challengers.

During yesterday’s press conference, McConnell noted several examples of far-right candidates who lost important races to Democrats because they failed to appeal to a broader electorate.

“The goal here is to win elections in November,” the Kentucky Republican said.


McConnell named four 2010 Republican Senate nominees: Todd Akin of Missouri, who repulsed voters with talk about “legitimate rape”; Richard Mourdock of Indiana, who said pregnancy from rape is “something that God intended to happen”; Christine O’Donnell of Delaware, who said she’d dabbled in witchcraft; and Sharron Angle of Nevada, who said Sharia law -- Islamic religious law -- had taken over several U.S. cities.


“They were not able to appeal to a broader electorate in a general election,” McConnell said. “The way you do that is not complicated. You have to nominate people who can actually win, because winners make policy and losers go home.”

To be sure, the push for Republican unity hasn’t stopped Trump from expressing fondness for his one-time top adviser. Indeed, as Reuters reports, Trump has refused to denounce Bannon, saying only that “Steve is doing what Steve thinks is the right thing.”

While it seems Trump has let go of his anger toward McConnell, the president continues to seethe over Republican lawmakers who voted against the Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill.

Reuters reports that before a Monday meeting of Trump’s Cabinet, the president criticized Republicans who voted against Obamacare repeal, saying they “should be ashamed.”

“We’re not getting the job done,” Trump said. “And I‘m not going to blame myself, I’ll be honest. They are not getting the job done.”

Luckily, several of the six Republican senators who were identified as possible “no” votes on tax reform have said recently that they’re leaning toward a ‘yes’ vote.

“I am leaning ‘yes’,” Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska told reporters as the chamber prepared for what is expected to be a late Thursday vote on the fiscal 2018 spending blueprint.

Senator Susan Collins of Maine announced on Sunday that she will likely vote ‘yes.’

Even Rand Paul – who recently praised the president for promising to sign an executive order that would allow insurers to sell health insurance across state lines – says he’s leaning toward a yes, a development that will no doubt please the White House. Trump, who reportedly respects Paul despite him being one of the most intransigent Republican opponents of the Trump agenda, has made winning Paul’s vote a priority.

However, if Republicans wish to see tax reform passed by the end of the year – a deadline that even Gary Cohn yesterday admitted may not be possible – the senate must pass a budget bill to unlock the reconciliation rules that would allow the senate to pass tax reform with only 50 votes.

And while Cohn's former employer continues to see higher than 50% odds that tax reform will pass this year, market-implied odds (ascertained by comparing the performance of high-tax corporates with the broader S&P 500) have essentially fallen to zero.


Cash2Riches OneStinkyDinky Tue, 10/17/2017 - 10:23 Permalink

Trump needs to embrace Bannon and declare full blown war on the elites, no matter if they are Republican, or Democrate. If he can't do it, he will be replaced. This movement isn't going anywhere. They will attempt to pull the plug on the market in 2018, if they can't get him under control. We need to resist when they do.…

In reply to by OneStinkyDinky

LyLo Mullet Master Tue, 10/17/2017 - 09:15 Permalink

He's the only elected official I know that is more popular around the country than they are in their own district.  He's also the least popular politician nationally.  Let that sink in...  Oh, and by the by, he was reelected only 2 years ago.Weird isn't it?  That he's so unpopular, yet he totally BTFO'd the guy that would become our governor only a year later.  You know, the Tea Party guy that was rather popular with the only grassroots movement in my state...  Weird...Long story short--I think that there is a reason he is always so adamantly against any investigations into national elections on any level.  I think there is a reason that he gets along so well with Democrats in this state.  And I think all these things are related.I don't think Mitch is allowed to lose.

In reply to by Mullet Master

RabbitOne Tue, 10/17/2017 - 08:46 Permalink

Government (Demorats and the Repuke’s) are only in the mode of increasing revenue (taxes). They have no real interest in giving a nickle back to main street. With 10K baby boomers retiring each day and a bankrupt government (see Kotlikoff senate testimony of 02/15/15) the future bills will be staggering to pay for retirees. Plus the 61 million immigrants (see CIS.ORG) are not paying the taxes they dreamed of to pay for the boomers. So to keep the socialist Ponzi scheme going they need more and more taxes not less...

Dg4884 Tue, 10/17/2017 - 08:51 Permalink

Does it REALLY matter anymore?Fake MarketFake UnemploymentFake HiringsPM supressionDeath of the middle classFake warsFake sportsFalse flags The only real constant anymore are tyrannical governments.

overmedicatedu… Tue, 10/17/2017 - 08:53 Permalink

the gopE is moving to accept more of Trump's agenda..and hating every moment of it..the demorats, are emploding..the witch hillary kicked a door in anger over that fat lech big dem mover JU, and broke a toe.".put some ice on that girl"

Quivering Lip Tue, 10/17/2017 - 09:18 Permalink

 “We’re not getting the job done,” Trump said. “And I‘m not going to blame myself, I’ll be honest. They are not getting the job done."Bwahahahhahahhahhahahhahah.Stock markets fake, unemployment is closer to 20%, hedge fund managers don't build anything real and are getting away with murder, but I'll be honest. I'm president now and I'll take full credit for all time highs in stock market best unemployment numbers in decades and hedge fund managers need their tax break

Sizzurp Tue, 10/17/2017 - 09:14 Permalink

McConnell became a lot more agreeable after Bannon started applying the heat. Flake is getting his butt kicked in AZ. Steve should keep up the pressure.

ptoemmes Tue, 10/17/2017 - 09:41 Permalink

McConnell: "The goal here is to win electiions in November".Well - that about sums it up.  Party and power first - but "we" knew that.Pete

Soph Tue, 10/17/2017 - 09:46 Permalink

The President doesn't have the power to drive policy to any significant degree. He will always need Congress, and to a lesser extend the bureaucracy. Trump put both of those entities right in his sights during his campaign, and not surprisingly they have shown him how things are really done (or not done) in Washington.Short of un-doing everything Obama has donw (which is Trump's primary goal after all) I kinda doubt Trump will get anything significant and new done during his time as president, let alone something as big as tax reform. The Republicans won't supprot him, in part because he slandered most of them during his campaign. But also because it isn't one party anymore. It's at least 2, possibly 3 very divergent factions with little in common.This presidency will be more high drama than we've ever seen....and that's about it. 

idahobandito Soph Tue, 10/17/2017 - 11:14 Permalink

I think he will get rid of obamacare and build the wall by the end of his first term. He will do it ALL by EO, as he will get no help from the uniparty. Tax reform will likely have more loopholes and exemptions for politicians than ever before, because they represent themselves, not us.

In reply to by Soph

venturen Tue, 10/17/2017 - 09:55 Permalink

When does McConell....get the McCain RINO brain tumor. The light of day must give RINOs brain tumors? Trump must have one big RINO gun!

Mike Masr Tue, 10/17/2017 - 09:59 Permalink

Let's get Term Limits. Those elected to Congress get 4 years and then OUT! Fuck all these corrupt Dems & RINO's that serve for life because idiots keep voting them back in.Just look at John McBrainTumor!

urhotdogs Tue, 10/17/2017 - 10:17 Permalink

If the Republican candidate is someone Mitch doesn't want, the RNC and him pull all support for that candidate, even if it means losing to a Demorat.  He's toxic and it's all about him and power

Last of the Mi… Tue, 10/17/2017 - 10:26 Permalink

McConnell is a RINO progressive and a closet globalist. That's why he's talking about "we need people who can win elections" He's talking about those who will avoid constitutional conservatives at all costs, kind lf like Luther Strange. Bannon will never end it with McConnell and lay down arms because Bannon gives a shit about his country and isn't in it for more power and money. Trump periodically lurches left in hopes of this nonsense and it's not going to happen.

gaoptimize Tue, 10/17/2017 - 10:29 Permalink

Declaring a cease fire to get a tactical victory in a long war does not make any sense to me, leading up to the 2018 primaries.  The establishment, lead by McConnel is lieing to Trump and they will give him nothing.  McConnel and all other RINOs need to go!  I'll gladly wait until 2019 for tax cuts to be rid of this swamp scum.

shimmy Tue, 10/17/2017 - 11:07 Permalink

Pumpkin saying he will not blame himself is shocking as he's always taking responsibility for negative shit that happens under his watch. 

idahobandito Tue, 10/17/2017 - 11:25 Permalink

The people have seen who is actually blocking Trump's/our agenda. Trump keeps giving them the chance to do what they campained on, and they keep failing intentionally. I think Trump will pass as much of his agenda all bu EO, and show the American people who the obstructionist really are. Bannon and him have a game plan. I'd like to see Trump get rid of his family and SIL from the white house. I think NK and Iran are a distraction also, the media looks at the squirrel, while he passes EO's. Sessions has to be part of the deep state uniparty...thats where he came from.

Gohigher Tue, 10/17/2017 - 13:48 Permalink

Why I am Done :

Bannon: MAGA !! America First!

Mc CON Man : “The goal here is to win elections in November,” the Kentucky Republican said. (translated: more of the same swamp insanity to fuck main street)

I call for 500 MID-TERM-INATIONS.
Party does NOT matter. Every incumbent must be terminated.