Trump White House
Congressional Republicans "have banked on at least one comforting constant" during President Trump's tenure, say Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman at The New York Times: "However unpredictable, disengaged, backbiting, or belligerent he has been to them, he has been unwilling to ditch them for the Democrats." That changed on Wednesday, when Trump sided with the Democratic leaders, Sen. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), against top Republicans and his treasury secretary on a deal to raise the debt limit for three months, not up to 18 months as Republicans wanted.
Republicans were "shellshocked" by Trump's move, according to several accounts of Wednesday's meeting, then furious. And just after Trump allied with the Democrats, Ivanka Trump walked in, CNN reports. Legislators and staff members described the moment as "instantly iconic, and not in a good way," Thrush and Haberman report. Here's the version they heard:
Trump often invites his daughter Ivanka Trump into meetings to signal their conclusion — or to keep his interlocutors off balance. When Ms. Trump entered the office toward the end of the discussion on Wednesday, ostensibly to discuss tax reform, Republicans in the room reacted with astonishment and annoyance. [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell, who is barely on speaking terms with the president, quietly seethed, according to two people familiar with the situation. [The New York Times]
And from The Atlantic:
Another aide briefed on the meeting said that toward its conclusion, Ivanka Trump entered the room to say hello to the leaders and the discussion veered off-track. "Republican leaders were visibly annoyed by Ivanka's presence," the aide said. [The Atlantic]
Ivanka Trump, who also serves as a White House adviser, "entered the Oval Office to 'say hello' and the meeting careened off-topic," a congressional source briefed on the meeting told CNN's Deirdre Walsh. Some Republican leaders were "visibly annoyed by Ivanka's presence," the source said. But House Speaker Paul Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong refuted that characterization, saying, "That's not true." [CNN]
CNN's Betsy Klein says that the "casual drop-by from daughter Ivanka Trump" is a well-known Trump gambit in "high-profile meetings" dating back to when Ivanka was in high school. Officially, the president invited his daughter into Wednesday's meeting to discuss the child care tax credit, but she has also dropped in during recent high-stakes newspaper interviews. GOP leaders apparently won't miss this trick when Ivanka returns to New York.