GOP lawmakers want Trump to stop bashing Congress

Senate Republicans want President TrumpDonald John TrumpDC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' DC board rejects Trump Hotel effort to dismiss complaint seeking removal of liquor license on basis of Trump's 'character' Mexico's immigration chief resigns amid US pressure over migrants MORE to stop taking jabs at Congress over its inability to get things done.

Trump loves to tout results and bash lawmakers when they do not move fast enough on his priorities.

Trump warned Senate Republicans through Twitter a week ago that they should get the annual spending bills passed before the August recess, a high bar for a chamber that didn’t pass any regular appropriations bills in 2017.

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He also slammed the Senate’s pace on approving nominees as “the worst in history.”

A few days before that, he dinged Congress for a lack of progress on immigration reform.

“We are going to demand Congress secure the border in the upcoming CR,” he tweeted, referring to a continuing resolution that would provide government funding. “Congress must act now to change our weak and ineffective immigration laws.”

Trump’s criticism extends to matters beyond legislation and nominees.

Earlier this month, he poked GOP lawmakers for not being more vocally critical of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE’s investigation, warning “Republicans better get tough and smart before it is too late!”

This flurry of criticism has some Republicans worried that Trump could dampen enthusiasm among the GOP base, hurting turnout for the midterm elections.

“It would be very helpful with our base if rather than suggesting we weren’t doing anything, that he acknowledged what we are getting done,” said Sen. Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsHouse panel advances bill to create cybersecurity standards for government IT devices House panel advances bill to create cybersecurity standards for government IT devices The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Biden go toe-to-toe in Iowa MORE (R-S.D.).

Rounds said this message was communicated to Trump at a meeting on Capitol Hill this past week.

“I think it was well received by the president,” he said.

Republicans say that Trump’s complaints about lack of accomplishments in Congress, such as the failure to pass legislation to repeal and replace ObamaCare, have overshadowed accomplishments, such as passing a $1.5 trillion tax cut last year.

“When I sit down with a small group of Republicans in Tennessee, they say, ‘Why don’t you guys do anything?’ ” said Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderTaylor Swift thanks Cory Booker for signing Equality Act petition Taylor Swift thanks Cory Booker for signing Equality Act petition Senate health panel to move forward on package to lower health costs next week MORE (R-Tenn.).

Alexander said he has gotten so many questions and complaints about the ObamaCare failure he has printed out cards that he hands to constituents that list all the accomplishments of the 115th Congress.

They include tax reform, confirming 21 circuit court judges, opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, repealing ObamaCare’s individual mandate and using the Congressional Review Act to repeal 14 Obama-era federal regulations.

Sen. John HoevenJohn Henry HoevenMcConnell ups pressure on White House to get a budget deal McConnell ups pressure on White House to get a budget deal Senators introduce bill to prevent border agency from selling personal data MORE (R-N.D.) did Alexander one better and gave Trump one of those cards during his meeting with the GOP conference.

Alexander told Trump that Republicans’ chances of keeping control of the Senate and House after November will depend on him rallying the base.

That means touting its accomplishments, not panning it for the backlog of executive and judicial branch nominations or stalemate on immigration.

“He has the biggest megaphone and the more he talks about that, the better off we think we are,” he said.

Republicans have a slim 51-49 majority in the Senate and hope to expand it as Democrats must defend 26 seats in November while Republicans have to worry about only nine.

But Democrats have hopes of seizing the majority because the president’s party tends to fare badly in the first midterm election and polls show them leading Republicans by an average of 5 points on the generic ballot.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Defense: Trump doubles down on claim Iran attacked tankers | Iran calls accusations 'alarming' | Top nuke official quietly left Pentagon | Pelosi vows Congress will block Saudi arms sale Overnight Defense: Trump doubles down on claim Iran attacked tankers | Iran calls accusations 'alarming' | Top nuke official quietly left Pentagon | Pelosi vows Congress will block Saudi arms sale McConnell defends Trump amid backlash: 'He gets picked at every day' MORE (R-Ky.) warned on Thursday that control of the chamber is “absolutely” up for grabs.

GOP strategists think Senate Republicans are right to ask Trump to be more positive.

“One, Trump has great clout with the Republican base. Two, hammering Republicans [in Congress] undermines their central argument in the midterm election, which is, ‘the president needs reinforcements — look at the great results, he needs more Republicans not Democrats,’ ” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell.

Trump’s approval rating has climbed in recent months.

Gallup reported it reached an 11-month high at the end of April, with 42 percent of respondents nationwide saying they liked the job he was doing.

A CNN poll released earlier this month found his job approval rating at 41 percent, with 53 percent disapproving.

While more people disapprove than approve of Trump’s job performance, he’s doing significantly better in the public’s opinion than Congress.

A Gallup poll conducted earlier this month showed Congress with a 17 percent job approval rating.

Strategists say Trump will be key to turning out Republican voters in November.

“The megaphone that President Trump has to fire up the base and get them to vote on election day is crucial for Republicans to win,” said Ron Bonjean, a strategist and former Senate GOP leadership aide.

He noted that Republicans held onto the Senate majority in 2016, despite predictions that Democrats would win back control, because of Trump’s ability to motivate voters.

Senate GOP candidates hung on to win in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Wisconsin thanks in part to Trump’s victory in states where Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonYoung Turks founder says Democrats should avoid repeat of 2016 and pick a progressive Young Turks founder says Democrats should avoid repeat of 2016 and pick a progressive Trump highlights polls that showed Clinton beating him by double digits MORE was expected to prevail.

Bonjean said Republicans “were activated during the presidential election and it’s just as important to get them motivated to support members of Congress” in the midterm.