A Washington Post profile on Alaska Rep. Don Young (R) revealed that former President Donald Trump was so desperate to kill the infrastructure bill under President Joe Biden that he was working to phones to stop the funding.
Trump spent the majority of his presidency attempting to pass his own version of the bill, with enthusiastic support from Democrats. The idea of "infrastructure week" became a punchline during the presidency, wrote the New York Times in 2019. Trump then torpedoed his years-long effort for an infrastructure package in 2019 because the Democrats were investigating him for his call with Ukraine where he demanded a "favor" for aid.
It was previously reported that Trump was working to kill any Democratic negotiations with Republicans. Trump then began publicly criticizing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for even entertaining the idea of the vote.
A Politico report in July said that Republicans were privately encouraging Trump to tone down his opposition and even consider supporting the effort, which would have allowed him an opportunity to take partial credit in getting the conversation rolling.
But as the vote came close, Trump begged with his allies to kill the effort, allowing Democrats to argue that Trump wants the country to fail. Trump has teased that he may run for president in 2024 and if elected he could have attempted an "infrastructure week" again, so it's unclear if that was his thinking.
"Rep. Don Young knew the call would not end well, as the Alaska Republican forcefully rejected Donald Trump’s plea to oppose the more than $1 trillion infrastructure legislation," the Post report said. "How did the former president take the news?"
“Not well,” Young told the Post, noting that the good news is that there wasn't any shouting. “I think his policy is just so good. Just shut up — that’s all he has to do. He’s not going to. I know that.”
Only 13 Republicans in the House were willing to support the bill, and Trump has pledged to punish them with primary challenges and an effort to bring them down in 2022. The 13 Republicans, however, seem to be taking the bet that by the midterm election Trump will forget about his opposition and be onto another fight.
Meanwhile, however, the Republican Party is in crisis as Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) desperately clings to his only hope of becoming the Speaker of the House. While the GOP majority leader was able to control his caucus with donations from lobbyists, PACS and corporations, many of those members, like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), can raise their own funds and don't need the help from the GOP leadership. If she can help raise more money for the caucus, she could ultimately end up being more powerful than McCarthy next year.