White House insists all good between Trump, Senate leader

By AFP   August 23, 2017 | 04:57 pm PT
Trump and McConnell 'remain united on many shared priorities.'

The White House insisted Wednesday that President Donald Trump and the U.S. Senate's top Republican Mitch McConnell were "united" on their political priorities, after reports of spectacular fallout between the pair.

Trump has lashed out in recent weeks against Senate Majority Leader McConnell, pinning the blame on the veteran legislator for failing to repeal and replace the health care reforms enacted under Trump's predecessor Barack Obama.

Trump even hinted recently that the Kentucky Republican should resign if he cannot push through the president's agenda.

But after an explosive New York Times report Tuesday that said McConnell privately expressed uncertainty about whether Trump could last through his entire term in office -- as well as reports of a profane phone call in which the billionaire politician vented about McConnell not protecting him from investigations into potential collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia -- the White House sought to calm the waters.

Trump and McConnell "remain united on many shared priorities, including middle class tax relief, strengthening the military, constructing a southern border wall, and other important issues," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

The pair will hold "previously scheduled meetings" after Congress returns in early September from its summer break, Sanders added.

The bickering spilled into the open when Trump fired off several scornful tweets earlier this month at McConnell -- a lawmaker he desperately needs on his side to get his agenda through Congress -- after the Obamacare repeal collapsed.

McConnell has expressed his own frustration at the president, reportedly seething to aides over Trump's criticism of fellow Senate Republicans including Jeff Flake and Dean Heller, both of whom face tough re-election fights next year.

The Republicans control the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives for the first time since 2006.

Trump needs his party foot soldiers in Congress in order to pass crucial bills in the coming months on funding the government and increasing U.S. borrowing authority.

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