This has all the makings of a delicious Republican Civil War. There’s definitely trouble in paradise. Big trouble.
For months, the Republicans have been walking in lockstep with Donald Trump. But, more and more, we’re starting to see that less-than-happy marriage show signs of serious trouble. And now it looks like Trump has even lost Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
On Tuesday the New York Times reported,
“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.”
Trump sent out several tweets attacking McConnell this summer after the Senate failed to repeal Obamacare. And, according to the Times, Trump also blasted the majority leader in a hostile phone call on August 9th that “quickly devolved into a profane shouting match.”
Trump not only blames McConnell for the healthcare fiasco. He’s also irate that McConnell isn’t protecting him from the Russia investigation.
“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,” the Times reports. “Mr. McConnell has made sharper comments in private, describing Mr. Trump as entirely unwilling to learn the basics of governing.”
McConnell has also made several comments to his colleagues that he doesn’t know whether or not Trump will even be the leader of the Republican Party next year heading into the mid-term elections. McConnell has been publicly quiet about all of Trump’s blunders and chaos. But privately he’s expressing his horror.
“Former Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, a Republican who is close to Mr. McConnell, said frustration with Mr. Trump was boiling over in the chamber. Mr. Gregg blamed the president for undermining congressional leaders, and said the House and Senate would have to govern on their own if Mr. Trump “can’t participate constructively.””
Al Hoffman, a former finance chairman of the Republican National Committee, says that Trump and McConnell are both to blame for the destruction of their relationship. But he predicted about Trump, “I think he’s going to blow up, self-implode. I wouldn’t be surprised if McConnell pulls back his support of Trump and tries to go it alone.”