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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

November 18, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Opinion

National recap: Trump clashes with Republicans

President Donald Trump has clashed with congressional Republicans yet again on the issue of his proposed border wall, indicating a widening rift between Trump and his fellow party members.

Congressional Democrats have already spoken out against Trump’s plan for a border wall, as they have a variety of Trump’s executive actions and legislative proposals. But the  disagreement between Trump and Republicans on the border wall could lead to a government shutdown.

Republican Representative Charlie Dent told the Washington Post that he thought Trump’s actions were counterproductive, he said, “Does he think that Democratic senators will be more cooperative than John McCain and Jeff Flake and Susan Collins? It doesn’t seem to make any sense.”

Trump’s relationship with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is the most noticeably divided. Trump has made a series of tweets criticizing McConnell for not being able to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, and Trump has had phone conversations with McConnell that “quickly devolved into a profane shouting match,” according to the New York Times.

Most recently, Trump has accused McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan of “creating a mess” after Congress tried to change legislation that would raise the federal debt ceiling.

McConnell is not the only target. Sen. Jeff Flake from Arizona released a book titled “Conscience of a Conservative: A Rejection of Destructive Politics and a Return to Principle” this summer to criticize the way that Trump’s beliefs have disrupted conservative politics.

Flake has also opposed the idea of a border wall. According to ABC, Flake told reporters that Trump’s plan to build a wall along the 2,000 mile border isjust out there.”

In response to his criticism, Trump, called Flake “weak on borders, weak on crime” at a rally on August 22 in Phoenix. Though Trump did not explicitly name Flake at the rally, he tweeted the same phrase the next day and named Flake in the tweet.

Despite their disputes, Flake went on “The Brian Kilmeade Show” on Fox News Radio and said, “I’ll continue to support the president, work with him when I think he’s right and challenge him when I think he is going in the wrong direction.”

Congressional Republicans have also opposed Trump’s response to the events in Charlottesville. Only seven out of the 146 Republican state party chairs and national committee members expressed some sort of criticism of Trump’s statement that there were “some very fine people on both sides” when discussing Charlottesville. However, the Republican National Committee released a resolution regarding white supremacy on August 25, saying that they are “unified in revulsion at the abhorrent white supremacists demonstration in Charlottesville.”

In addition, Trump has been arguing with Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker and Sen. Thom Tillis about legislation regarding Russia, according to Politico. Trump has called both senators to try and sway then from working on bills that would create sanctions against Russia, Politico reported. Trump hesitantly signed a bill over the summer limiting his ability to unilaterally lift sanctions.  

Trump has been unable to pass any major legislation thus far during his presidency. With 52 senators, Republicans maintain a narrow advantage over Democrats and Trump can’t afford to lose support from many GOP senators if he wants to change the trajectory of his administration.   

Meaghan McElroy can be reached at mmcelroy@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @meaghan_mcelroy