Trump pressures McConnell, GOP to ditch bipartisan talks until they have majority

Former President Trump on Monday urged Senate Republicans to abandon talks on a bipartisan infrastructure deal until after the midterm elections or when the GOP retakes majorities in Congress.

“Senate Republicans are being absolutely savaged by Democrats on the so-called ‘bipartisan’ infrastructure bill,” Trump said in a statement as Senate negotiators work to finalize an agreement this week.

Trump claimed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Republicans working on the deal, such as Sens. Rob Portman (Ohio), Susan Collins (Maine) and Mitt Romney (Utah), were merely interested in proving they could work with Democrats.

“It is so important to [McConnell] that he is agreeing to almost anything,” Trump said. “Don’t do the infrastructure deal, wait until after we get proper election results in 2022 or otherwise, and regain a strong negotiating stance. Republicans, don’t let the Radical Left play you for weak fools and losers!”

The statement marked the third time in recent weeks where Trump has issued a statement through his post-presidency political action group bemoaning Republicans’ willingness to negotiate on a bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Such a deal would be a win for President Biden and his agenda, and it would be on an issue where Trump repeatedly tried and failed to secure a deal. Trump as president announced support for a $2 trillion infrastructure package, but no bill ever materialized.

A group of roughly two dozen senators from both parties is hoping to have a deal finalized and be ready to start debate this week.

But the negotiators are struggling to resolve final sticking points, including funding for transit, using unspent COVID-19 relief funds to pay for the deal, water funding and broadband. Democrats made a “global offer” to Republicans on Sunday night that would resolve the outstanding issues, according to a Democratic source close to the talks.

President Biden announced in June an agreement on a $1.2 trillion framework that included hundreds of billions of dollars in new spending, but that deal still has yet to be completed.

Biden and the senators have sunk weeks into trying to get a bipartisan deal, arguing that infrastructure is a long-sought priority for both parties and should be able to get the 60 votes needed to defeat a Senate filibuster. But aides and senators have given mixed prognosis ranging from the group being on the cusp of a final agreement to predicting that the high-profile talks could go either way. 

Jordain Carney contributed

Tags budget reconciliation Donald Trump Filibuster Infrastructure Joe Biden Mitch McConnell Mitt Romney Rob Portman Susan Collins

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