Trump, McConnell Aren't Speaking After Angry Call
Elaine Chao: 'I stand by my man—both of them'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2017 8:37 AM CDT
In this March 1 photo, President Trump is flanked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell House Speaker Paul Ryan.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

(Newser) – President Trump and Mitch McConnell have taken potshots at each other in public of late, but that's nothing compared to what's going on in private, reports the New York Times. A lengthy story describes their relations as of the "Cold War" variety, and it says the two men haven't spoken since a phone call on Aug. 9 that devolved into a shouting match. CNN confirms the volatile nature of that call, with one of its sources saying that the president swore at the Senate majority leader. Both stories say Trump is not only peeved at the Senate's inability to repeal ObamaCare, but at McConnell's refusal to help shield the president from the Russia investigation. McConnell's wife, Elaine Chao, is Trump's transportation secretary, and earlier this month she navigated the rift as best she could publicly: "I stand by my man—both of them."

The Times story runs through in great detail the sources of friction, including that McConnell "expressed horror" to aides about the president's reaction to the Charlottesville violence. Maybe the most damning line of all: "McConnell has privately expressed uncertainty that Mr. Trump will be able to salvage his administration after a series of summer crises." A White House official, however, downplays the feud to CNN and says it won't interfere with looming action on tax reform and government funding. But Ed Kilgore at New York isn't so sure. "If nothing else, the 'cold war' between Trump and McConnell could lead both men to a decision to go it alone at times when cooperation is essential to GOP goals."

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