Congressional Republicans while looking forward to September resumption to Capitol Hill, are jeering up for another round of criticisms and twitter attacks from President Trump, casting fears over the President’s outbursts which might complicate their legislative agenda.
Their worry is not unconnected with Trump’s last week torrent of tweets in which he fiercely criticized three GOP senators. The tweets sparked curiosities amongst congressmen who were left wondering if the president is so preoccupied with protecting his current image that he has forgotten his broader legacy will be defined by his accomplishments while in office.
In his words, Republican strategist Noelle Nikpour while speaking to Washington Examiner said: “Some Republicans feel Trump is only concerned with building his brand and not the brand of the Republican party”.
His assertion came hours after Trump slammed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, for failing to ensure the passage of the Obamacare repeal bill through the Senate chamber last month.
Nikpour added: “All the GOP members he continues to trash in public he will eventually need to pass his legislation in the future”.
Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake, who was also a recipient of Trump’s ire while speaking to Georgia radio station Wednesday said, “the president is ‘inviting’ a 2020 challenge from someone in his own party with his current style of governing and his vitriol on social media”.
“The direction he’s headed [in] right now, just kind of drilling down on the base rather than trying to expand the base – I think he’s inviting one,” Flake added.
Some White House officials anonymously admitted Trump’s assault on members of his own party has made their work with congressional offices and coordinate on legislation more complicated.
One official said they spent more time answering questions about the president’s messaging mode “than his strategy for tax reform”.
The White House has publicly blamed Republican lawmakers for inaction on bills like tax reform amongst others, dubbing President Trump’s slamming tweets as a tool he can use to pressure lawmakers to buckle down so Republicans can finally claim a major legislative win.
White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee said: “It’s clear that the end game is for Congress to do its job and actually pass legislation, I think the American people are very frustrated with Congress’ lack of action … and we’re looking for them to step up at this point.”
Republican lawmakers would be faced with the daunting task of deciding to raise or suspend the debt ceiling at the risk of facing steep economic and political consequences.
A senior GOP aide said, “Our goal is to get the debt ceiling and some sort of funding bill done before those deadlines and then move on to committee work on tax reform”.
The aide further said Congress accomplishment will depend on the activeness and discipline of Trump by avoiding further damage in his relationship with McConnell and other Republicans through the push for the tax reform.
“We might have a bunch of other tweets before [Congress] returns, and I’m sure it’s something a lot of senators are going to be asked about when they do get back. The President attacks is getting a little more difficult and forced us to talk about things that we don’t necessarily want to talk about,” the aide said.
The aide continued, “I heard someone say recently that you kind of just have to move forward and not expect much help from the White House, and I guess that’s mostly true. If they can go out and really sell tax reform, that’s great. But I’m not really holding my breath on that.”
In reaction to Trump’s threat of a government shutdown to force funding for the border wall, house Speaker Paul Ryan said: “I don’t think a government shutdown is necessary, and I don’t think most people want to see a government shutdown, ourselves included,”
Nikpour while concluding her statement said “One thing the Democrats have is unity. They may have policies that are not good for the economy but they all follow the leader and vote for them. As a national fund raiser, what am I to sell to my donors? I used to sell that if we had a GOP House, Senate, and President we could pass everything we need to be successful.”
“[That] is not happening,” she said.