President Trump sent a strong message to the Republicans on Capitol Hill on Wednesday when he reached a deal with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to increase the debt ceiling until mid-December and provide funding for the many victims of Hurricane Harvey. Mr. Trump also warned at the time that he was willing to work with the Democrats if the GOP forced him to do so.
“I think we will have a different relationship than we’ve been watching over the last number of years. […] I think that’s a great thing for our country. And I think that’s what the people of the United States want to see. They want to see some dialogue,” the president said on Thursday.
A number of Republicans are still in denial though and refuse to admit that it was their obstructionist stand which forced the president to turn to the Democrats. Some view the debt-ceiling deal as a one-off event brought about by extreme circumstances: Hurricane Harvey. In addition, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was about to run out of funds.
“I wouldn’t read too much into what that means long term. I think this was a fairly unique set of circumstances that hopefully won’t be replicated anytime soon,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) said.
Yet, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Friday that the Trump-Pelosi-Schumer deal may not be a ‘one-off’ event.
“[The president is] committed to moving legislation through; he wants Congress to act and is happy to have Democrats be part of that [and he will] continue to work with anyone willing to sit down at the table,” she stressed.
Some Republican congressmen though appear to have heeded President Trump’s message. Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y) for instance warned his colleagues that they needed to unite behind the president or it would not take long for their fears to become a reality.
“It should send a message to our guys that we’ve got to get together. If we don’t, we’re maybe looking at another situation that is not a traditional play,” Reed stressed.
In case the dithering GOP members did not quite get the message, the president reiterated his frustration with them on Friday and criticized once again their refusal to review the filibuster rule.
“Republicans, sorry, but I’ve been hearing about Repeal & Replace for 7 years, didn’t happen! Even worse, the Senate Filibuster Rule will never allow the Republicans to pass even great legislation. 8 Dems control – will rarely get 60 (vs. 51) votes. It is a Repub Death Wish!” Mr. Trump tweeted just before the weekend.
The GOP will also be aware that their every action is now being scrutinized by Mr. Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon. In a CBS interview to be broadcast on Sunday evening, Bannon said that he would be waging a war against the Republicans who are trying to block the president’s agenda.Share