The Trump administration faces a rare situation. Despite overwhelming support from the base, President Trump has found his agenda opposed by the Congressional leadership of his own party. There is a stark divide between the GOP on Capitol Hill and in the White House.
Steve Bannon, executive chairman of Breitbart News and former White House Chief Strategist, took to CBS’s 60 Minutes to explain Congressional opposition to Trump. As seen on Twitter, Bannon made a startling revelation: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) directly told Trump to “back off” on his talk of “draining the swamp” during one of their first meetings following the election.
— Ali 👑 (@ali) September 8, 2017
As Breitbart notes, Bannon was being interviewed by Charlie Rose. Bannon told Rose that the Republican establishment is trying to “nullify” the 2016 election by suppressing Trump’s agenda.
When Rose asked “who” is trying to obstruct the President, Bannon specifically named McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI). Bannon asserted the two Congressional GOP leaders are ideologically opposed to the economic nationalism of Trump.
“They do not want Donald Trump’s populist, economic nationalist agenda to be implemented. It’s very obvious. It’s as obvious as night follows day.” When pressed to provide a story illustrating this opposition, Bannon recounted one of the Trump team’s first post-election meetings with McConnell at Trump Tower.
“Oh, Mitch McConnell when we first met him, I mean, he was … he said, I think in one of the first meetings in Trump Tower with the President, as we’re wrapping up, he basically says, “I don’t wanna hear any more of this ‘drain the swamp’ talk.”
“He – flat out. He goes, ‘A guy up on Capitol Hill can’t buy a Coke unless it’s gotta be reported.’ He says, ‘I can’t hire any smart people,’ because everybody’s all over him for reporting requirements and the pay, et cetera, and the scrutiny. You know, ‘You gotta back off that.’ The ‘Drain the Swamp’ thing was – is Mitch McConnell was day one did not wanna – did not wanna go there. Wanted us to back off.”
But Bannon claims he is taking action against McConnell and other GOP establishment figures who are trying to block the President’s agenda. As Fox News reports, Bannon said last month after stepping down from his White House position that he is “going to war” for Trump.
One of the biggest points of contention between Trump and Congressional GOP has been the fate of Obamacare. Trump, like most Republicans, ran and won on the promise of repealing Obamacare. However, the Senate has killed Obamacare repeal attempts–thanks to Republican votes. This has prompted Trump to try working with Democrats if he cannot obtain Republican cooperation.
As the Daily Caller reports, on Wednesday Trump sided with Democrat leaders in a discussion over the raising of the debt ceiling. MSNBC notes that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), both praised Trump for reaching a “bipartisan” deal with them.
Both Ryan and McConnell are unpopular with Republican voters. According to Politico, just 28 percent of Republicans would back a member of Congress who supports Mitch McConnell.
Washington Examiner reports that Paul Ryan’s favorability numbers have also dropped significantly over the last few months. GOP leadership is immensely unpopular with the base, yet they show no signs of changing course with regard to the Trump agenda.
This presents a very shaky future for both McConnell and Ryan, as well as anti-Trump congressional Republicans.