In an explosive new report from the New York Times, it appears that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is expressing doubts about Donald Trump’s ability to “salvage” his own presidency.
McConnell’s musings on Trump come in the waning days of a summer that has so far been filled with lies, missed opportunities to reassure the country, and bungled attempts at unity that served only to make the President look as though he had chosen the side of Nazis in a brewing cultural showdown with mainstream America.
Throwing a loop into the uneasy relationship between the two men is the fact that Trump’s Secretary of Transportation — an inner Cabinet member who frequently appears with the President — is Elaine Chao, Mitch McConnell’s wife. You’ll remember her as the woman standing to the President’s left as he doubled down on his support for Nazis from Trump Tower in Manhattan. At that event, Ms. Chao was asked about the rift between the two men:
“I stand by my man — both of them.”
But we’re past the imbroglio of a failed health care vote at this point. Trump and McConnell have traded barbs over that both publicly and privately, and none seemed to stick. That is, until the President began attacking members of McConnell’s Senate.
According to the Times report, West Virginia senator Shelley Moore Capito was told that in order to attend the Boy Scout Jamboree with the Trump in her own home state, she needed to commit to voting for the health care bill. That didn’t happen. Trump went after Lisa Murkowski of Alaska to no avail. Now Trump has set his sights on Arizona’s junior senator, Jeff Flake, by publicly supporting a primary challenger for Flake after the senator went on tour promoting a book that was critical of Trump’s leadership style and proclivity for prevarication.
As ironic as it may seem, given the passion and ability of Trump supporters to completely ignore the reality-based world, the likeliest victor in this confrontation is undoubtedly McConnell. Trump’s grasp on the presidency is tenuous at best, and it would take no more than minor posturing from Republicans — who overwhelmingly support McConnell in this power struggle — to cast a very long shadow on Trump’s tenure as President.
Featured image via Donkey Hotey/flickr
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