- President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have forged an unlikely friendship ahead of the midterm elections this fall.
- Several policy successes, including the Republican tax overhaul, have brought the two together since their past differences.
While often appearing more like frenemies in the past, President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have forged an unlikely friendship ahead of the midterm elections this fall, according to the Washington Post.
Their closer relationship is a sharp departure from their public tension at the beginning of Trump’s time in office, like when Trump tweeted that McConnell “failed” to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.
The two have moved away from their fraught relationship for a bigger cause: keeping control of the Senate through this fall’s midterm elections.
McConnell said Trump calls his mobile phone “multiple times a week, and sometimes at unusual hours” to talk about the Senate situation and different races.
Sources told the Post that one-on-one meetings and September talks about the Republican tax plan and its passing months later brought the two together for common missions.
“Continuing to get the victories,” White House legislative affairs director Marc Short told the Post, is “what’s essential to the relationship.”
A recent victory came after McConnell forecasted a dire outlook for the midterms earlier this spring and sought Trump’s help to block a controversial candidate from securing West Virginia’s Republican nomination for Senate.
Yet sources told the Post certain issues could still damage their bond as the elections get closer, as the two still have differences in opinion. McConnell has opposed Trump’s objections to the special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, which Trump commonly refers to as a “witch hunt“.
“The president is a surprise every minute,” Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee told the Post. “Mitch is a surprise about once every century.”
Sen. David Perdue of Georgia, one of Trump’s closest allies in Congress, told the Post that the lack of funding for Trump’s border wall or infrastructure overhaul are “friction points right now, as we speak, that’s going to stress that relationship.”
As two of the most powerful Republicans, their relationship could make or break upcoming conservative policy moves.
“We can hope and pray,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn told the Post, “that it will stay strong.”
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