McConnell and Trump haven’t spoken in weeks: report
President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have not spoken in weeks, The New York Times reported Tuesday, a sign of the deteriorating relationship between the two men.
McConnell has also said privately that he is unsure if Trump can recover from a long series of controversies and crises that have rocked his administration over the summer, according to the Times.
Trump and McConnell have feuded openly in recent weeks after the Kentucky Republican said during a speech in his home state that the president may have “excessive expectations” about pushing his agenda through Congress.
Those remarks came after Senate Republicans failed to pass legislation repealing and replacing ObamaCare.
In response, Trump publicly questioned McConnell’s leadership, suggesting to reporters earlier this month that McConnell might want to consider stepping down if he’s unable to pass the president’s legislative agenda.
The feud, according to Tuesday’s report, also heated up outside the public eye. The president berated McConnell in an Aug. 9 phone call over the Senate’s narrow rejection of an ObamaCare repeal bill, according to the Times. The report says the call descended into shouting and profanity.
In that call, Trump also accused McConnell of refusing to protect him from ongoing investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
For his part, McConnell has voiced frustration over Trump’s willingness to attack fellow Republicans, and, in private, has said that the president appears unwilling to learn how to govern.
The rocky relationship between Trump and McConnell comes at a critical time for Republican lawmakers, who must vote to raise the debt ceiling and pass new spending bills by the end of September.
At the same time, congressional Republicans are hoping to overhaul the nation’s tax code and have faced renewed calls from Trump to revive efforts to repeal ObamaCare.
McConnell has also expressed concern about Trump’s ability to shepherd his party through the 2018 midterm elections as Democrats prepare to challenge a slew of potentially vulnerable Republican incumbents in the House, according to the Times.