Speed Reads

Trump v GOP

Trump is warring with Republican leaders to help his own political brand, advisers say

On Thursday, President Trump continued his hectoring of Republican leaders in Congress, accusing them of ignoring his advice to attach a measure raising the debt ceiling to a popular Veterans Affairs bill and once more slamming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for failing to get the votes on an ObamaCare-repeal bill. McConnell hit back by praising the president and telling a macabre joke about how hard it is to manage the Senate. But privately, McConnell is said to be furious at Trump's war on his own party, especially his attacks on politically vulnerable Senate Republicans.

Trump is reportedly furious at congressional Republicans for both failing to give him a win on ObamaCare and for not quashing the investigation into Russian election-meddling. But he's also "railing against Republicans because he thinks it will help him politically down the road, for instance during a 2020 re-election bid," an outside adviser tells The Washington Post. And if Republicans lose the House in 2018, the adviser says, Trump could say he told them so, "I've been saying this for months. They're not following my agenda."

Roger Stone, a longtime Trump friend and political adviser, made his point on the record: "The Trump brand and the Republican brand are two different things. What happened the last time the establishment tried to face him down? They got crushed."

Meanwhile, Congress has to pass legislation to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling in September, and they want to make progress on tax reform. Trump has twice threatened to shut down the government if he doesn't get money for a border wall, to Democrats' delight, and Republicans say his criticism of their party isn't helping. "You don't, I think, do a lot of good by torching your teammates, particularly by name, individually," said Sen. Tom Cole (R-Okla.). Despite his verbal strafing, Trump is reportedly working to convene a meeting early next month with the leaders of both parties in Congress.