WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday emphasized their plans to cooperate on shared goals, following weeks of tensions between the two Republicans.
The White House and McConnell issued statements after media reports that McConnell’s relationship with the Republican president had disintegrated amid repeated attacks by Trump on the Senate leader for, among other things, failing to get a healthcare bill passed.
Trump and McConnell “remain united on many shared priorities, including middle class tax relief, strengthening the military, constructing a southern border wall, and other important issues,” the White House said in a statement.
It said the two would hold previously scheduled meetings following the August recess to discuss the issues with members of the congressional leadership and the Cabinet.
“The President and I, and our teams, have been and continue to be in regular contact about our shared goals,” McConnell said in his statement.
He cited support for infrastructure legislation and tax reform, as well as preventing a government default, passing defence bills and implementing an effective strategy against Islamic State.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us, and we are committed to advancing our shared agenda together and anyone who suggests otherwise is clearly not part of the conversation,” McConnell said.
The New York Times reported on Tuesday that McConnell and Trump were locked in a political “cold war,” especially after an Aug. 9 phone call it said devolved into a shouting match. On that day and the next, Trump assailed McConnell via Twitter, angered by a speech McConnell had given saying Trump had “excessive expectations” of Congress.
Trump has kept up the pressure on Congress this week, threatening on Tuesday to shut down the government if lawmakers do not fund the building of a wall along the border with Mexico.
Trump also kept up an attack on another senator whom McConnell has defended, Republican Jeff Flake of Arizona, a longtime critic of the president over his trade and immigration policies.
Reporting by Amanda Becker; Additional reporting by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Tom Brown and Peter Cooney