With his approval ratings stuck in the 40% range, President Donald Trump is having trouble bending congressional lawmakers to his will — even if they’re members of his own party.
In an interview with the New York Times, one anonymous Republican senator claims that Trump has no clout in Congress and that no lawmaker is afraid of defying him on key pieces of legislation.
“A Republican senator, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he wanted to preserve his relationship with Mr. Trump, put it… bluntly,” the Times writes. “The president, he said, scares no one in the Senate, not even the pages.”
Rob Jesmer, the former executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and a former aide to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), went on the record to make a similar point that Trump is simply not feared by congressional Republicans.
“Right now, nobody’s afraid of Trump, and that’s a real problem,” he explained. “Where is he on local talk radio? Where is the trip to Kansas to say, ‘Hey, [GOP Sen. Jerry Moran], we’re really close on this and could use your help’? It’s what he does well, getting out there and making the case. I don’t get why he hasn’t been more engaged.”
Among other things, the report notes that the Trump team has floated potential primary challengers to rebellious senators such as Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Dean Heller (R-NV), but, so far, none of them have changed their behavior.