President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are finally making a mutual effort to settle their differences and get things done in Washington, DC. While the Senate’s inaction has been one of the largest roadblocks to Trump’s agenda, the President is trying to smooth things over with McConnell none the less.
After seemingly endless months of trading jabs and insults, both veiled and explicit, Trump and McConnell met at the White House on Monday, with the goal of resetting their working-relationship on a productive flooding. After their extended meeting, they released a joint statement from the White House’s Rose Garden, declaring that their friendship was now closer than ever.
Trump insisted to the reporters that the GOP leader has been a longtime friend, and that the relationship between them was now closer than ever.
In the press conference he announced that, “The relationship is good,” and proclaiming, “We’re fighting for the same thing.”
McConnell in his statement, focused on the fact that he speaks to the president frequently, even on the weekends, and rejected the mainstream media narrative that they hate one another.
McConnell said, “I want to underscore what the president said. We have the same agenda. We’ve been friends and acquaintances for a long time,” praising Trump for putting a strong conservative stamp on the federal judiciary.
While there are clear signs that both leaders are now making a strong effort to work together, gaps in their respective legislative visions do remain. For example, Trump also announced that he was formulating a major economic reform plan, but has yet to share any details with Senate Republicans.
He said, “I’m going to be surprising some people with an economic development bill later on, but I haven’t even told Mitch because I want to focus on tax cuts and some other things right now.”
Trump, in his press conference also claimed he has the votes to repeal and replace the ObamaCare next year even if the GOP lawmakers still have a lot more ground to cover before reaching a consensus about what next step could be taken on the health care topic.
Trump said, “We are getting close to health care. We’ll — it’ll come up in the early to mid-part of next year. We’re going to have a vote. I think we already have the votes. We feel confident we have the votes.”
Trump also expressed his strong support for his former political adviser, Stephen Bannon, who is also planning to support the primary challengers against as many as six sitting Republican senators in year 2018, a prospect that alarms the Senate GOP leadership and the rank-and-file members involved.
“I have a very good relationship, as you know, with Steve Bannon. Steve’s been a friend of mine for a long time. I like Steve a lot. Steve is doing what Steve thinks is the right thing,” he said.
Trump also mentioned the concerns of McConnell saying, “Some of the people that he may be looking at, I’m going to see if we talk him out of that, because frankly, they’re great people.”
However, McConnell was not bursting with praise for Steve Bannon, reminding the audience, “you know, the goal here is to win elections in November,” adding, “My goal, as the leader of the Republican Party in the Senate, is to keep us in the majority. And 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.”