The tables have turned for Congressional Republicans.
As The Washington Post reports, the beginning of 2017 seemed so promising. After eight years, they finally had a sympathetic president, and a vice-president who would make sure ties went their way in the Senate.
Repealing “Obamacare.” Major tax reform. A new approach to budgeting. The possibilities were endless.
Unfortunately for them, these policy proposals remained just that. Possibilities.
And now, their “sympathetic” president seems to have abandoned them.
In public, Congressional Republicans have presented a calm façade. They have praised President Trump for being a policy leader on divisive issues. They have suggested that, in the end, Democrats won’t be as happy with their deals as they think they would be.
However, in private, they are not pleased that Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) were not even invited to a White House dinner to discuss immigration policy. Especially since Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) were invited.
The president did not contact Ryan and McConnell to tell them what happened during the dinner until well after news of the dinner had reached the press.
In a news conference, Ryan emphasized that no formal agreement was reached during the dinner.
“The president and the chief of staff called me from Air Force One today to discuss what was discussed. And it was a discussion, not an agreement or a negotiation,” he said.
Still, this not how a president usually treats the Speaker and Majority Leader when they are from his own party.
McConnell and his allies in the Senate have tried to explain to the president that it will be difficult to get the Democrats to agree to any Republican demands when it comes to issues like tax policy.
Ryan’s supporters believe Trump’s behavior might allow Ryan to deal more effectively with the hardcore conservatives in the House. However, that is a silver lining at best.
Congressional Republicans are extremely annoyed that Trump has taken to appearing in public with some of the most vulnerable Democratic senators up for reelection in 2018. Republicans had hoped to increase their 52-to-48 majority, but campaign strategists say Trump is putting that in peril.
A Republican source said, “People are by and large incredibly pissed.”