Allies of President Donald Trump say they fear his feud with Republican Senator Bob Corker dangers unraveling the White House tax overhaul effort and that another major legislative failure could hobble the administration for the rest of his term.
A setback for Trump’s promised plan to significantly change the tax code would only solidify perceptions that the president is an ineffective leader who is unable to convince his own party to back his priorities, according to one key ally who requested anonymity to discuss concerns about the White House agenda.
Republicans have just been a narrow majority in the Senate, and Trump’s decision to go on the two attacks against Corker triggered immediate fear among supporters of the tax overhaul effort that the president’s insults also could alienate other key lawmakers. He’s previously lashed out publicly at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Arizona Senator John McCain.
One person close to the president, who requested anonymity to devote a candid assessment of the situation, said the battle with Corker won’t help Trump get a much-needed legislative win. Another Trump ally, who also asked for anonymity, was more dire, predicting it may turn out to be the final fingernail in the coffin for the president’s tax bill and saying the past weekend may solidify a legacy of failure for Trump.
Trump brushed aside concerns the fight with Corker would endanger his taxation overhaul.
” I don’t think so. I think we’re well on the way ,” Trump told reporters Tuesday at the beginning of an Oval Office meeting with Henry Kissinger.” People want to see taxation cuts. They want to see major reductions in their taxes and they want to see taxation reform. And that’s what we’re doing .”
Ill Will Building
The ill will between Corker and Trump has been bubbling since at least August when the Tennessee senator, who previously defended the president, told reporters Trump has ” has still not been been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of competencies that he requires” to be successful. Over the weekend, Trump took to Twitter to label Corker a” negative voice” stand in the way of his agenda. He also claimed Corker had prayed for an endorsement and decided to retire when Trump refused.