President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell held an impromptu press conference on Monday to project unity following reports that the two have a strained relationship.
Speaking in the Rose Garden, Trump insisted that the Republican Party was “very unified,” and mentioned that the two “spent quite a bit of time” together and frequently chat on the phone.
“Despite what we read, we’re probably now, I think, at least as far as I’m concerned, closer than ever before,” Trump said. “Our relationship is very good.”
“My relationship with this gentleman is outstanding, has been outstanding.”
Trump insisted that the two leaders would continue to work on the president’s tax reform plan, and McConnell insisted that the two often hold telephone conversations on the weekend that they do not disclose to the press.
“We have the same agenda, we’ve been friends and acquaintances for a long time,” McConnell said.
In August, The New York Times reported that the two leaders’ relationship had devolved to “mutual resentment and sometimes outright hostility” as McConnell has expressed uncertainty that the president can salvage the legislative agenda that Republicans laid out earlier this year.
Many of Trump’s allies outside the White House have complained repeatedly about McConnell’s leadership. The president himself has publicly blamed McConnell for Republicans’ stalled agenda in Congress and the failure to pass healthcare reform legislation.
The only problem I have with Mitch McConnell is that, after hearing Repeal & Replace for 7 years, he failed!That should NEVER have happened!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 24, 2017
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