WASHINGTON – Chuck and Nancy and Donald and Ivanka seemed to thoroughly enjoy their meeting at the White House the other day. Mitch and Paul, not so much.
Does it really surprise anyone that President Trump betrayed the Republican leaders who have been trying their best to carry water for him on Capitol Hill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, and is playing footsie with their Democratic rivals? It shouldn’t.
One thing that should be blindingly obvious by now is that political loyalty, for the president, is a one-way street. Yes, McConnell and Ryan embarrassed themselves and squandered precious political capital in a long, fruitless attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Yes, the Republican leaders have held their tongues time and again when Trump has manifested his unfitness for office. Yes, they have pretended not to notice the glaring conflicts of interest between Trump’s private business affairs and his public responsibilities.
Still, there was something brazen about the way events unfolded Wednesday. First, Ryan tells reporters that a short-term, three-month extension on the debt ceiling, tied to relief funds for Hurricane Harvey – an idea supported by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi – was “ridiculous and disgraceful.” Then, in the Oval Office meeting, Trump stuns everyone by endorsing the Schumer-Pelosi plan – and agrees to work with the Democrats on repealing the debt ceiling altogether, according to The Washington Post. Later, on Air Force One, Trump goes on about what a productive meeting he had with “Chuck and Nancy,” not bothering to mention the GOP congressional leaders by name. Ouch.