Sen. Jeff Flake’s surprise decision to not seek reelection marked a major victory for Stephen K. Bannon and his pirate band of Republicans. But the larger question Wednesday was whether the insurgency will cost the GOP its thin majority on Capitol Hill.
The fratricide that Bannon, a former White House advisor, is waging against President Trump’s critics threatens to undermine the party’s Senate hopefuls and has already lifted Democratic prospects, boosting the possibility of shaving the GOP’s 52-48 majority or eliminating it altogether.
“It’s causing Republicans to spend money defending their own rather than focusing on the big target, which should be expanding the size of their governing majority,” said Scott Reed, chief political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, one of the citadels targeted by Bannon and his anti-establishment forces.
President Trump's voter fraud commission, launched by executive order in May with the stated goal of restoring confidence and integrity in the electoral process, is now confronted with pushback from an unlikely group: its own members.
Two Democrats on the bipartisan commission sent letters to leaders of the panel last week condemning a lack of transparency.
“I honestly do not know what’s going on with the commission,” Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, the author of one of the letters, said Wednesday. “This very much concerns me.”
President Trump said Wednesday he would "love" to make an immigration deal to protect so-called Dreamers, but wants border security concessions in exchange, including money to build his long-promised wall along the border with Mexico.
Trump announced in September he was terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program established by President Obama that has protected from deportation more than 800,000 people brought to the country illegally as children.
President Trump on Tuesday endured one of the most searing rebukes of a chief executive by members of his own party in modern history, with one Republican senator accusing him of “debasing” the nation and another declaring he would rather retire than be “complicit” in the “compromise of our moral authority.”
SenateRepublicans had hoped a Tuesday lunch with Trump would showcase GOP unity as they push for tax cuts. But the meeting was largely lost amid Trump’s remarkable war of words with Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the announcement by Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake that he would not run for reelection because he refuses to accommodate the “new normal” of the president’s behavior.
The successive attacks, one before senators even sat down for lunch and the other afterward, showed once again how the president’s unpredictable outbursts and willingness to belittle his allies not only distracts from the administration’s policy agenda, but also threatens to undercut Trump’s image at home and abroad.
President Trump visited Dallas on Wednesday for a Republican fundraiser and political reception, and added a brief meeting about hurricane recovery efforts continuing on the Gulf Coast about 250 miles away.
The briefing at Dallas Love Field Airport, where several state and federal officials reviewed the effort since Hurricane Harvey struck the Houston region in August, lasted just 10 to 15 minutes, according to reporters with the president. Afterward Trump attended a private roundtable event and reception with Republican National Committee supporters and donors.
The reception was held at the Belo Mansion, now a catering and event space that once was the home of Alfred Horatio Belo, who led Confederate troops at the Battle of Gettysburg and later helped found the Dallas Morning News. It was expected to raise $4 million from about 200 people who paid from $2,700 a person up to $100,000 a couple, Republican officials said.