In a clear sign that Republicans are panicking over their support of Donald Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is now expressing doubts that Trump has what it takes to succeed in office after a summer of controversies and crises, according to a bombshell report from The New York Times.
Citing sources who have spoken to McConnell, The Times reported Tuesday that the Senate GOP leader questioned Trump’s willingness to learn how to govern and the president’s ability to lead the GOP into the 2018 midterm elections.
The report that McConnell doesn’t believe Trump has the ability to salvage his presidency follows a week in which the president was put on the defensive after blaming both sides for the violence in Charlottesville, Va., after a white supremacist rally.
McConnell was troubled by Trump’s remarks that placed equal blame on hate groups and counter-protesters, The Times noted.
The Kentucky Republican also signaled his unease with Trump’s comments to business leaders who quit their posts on presidential advisory councils in recent days, according to the report.
The report comes after McConnell and Trump publicly feuded after Senate Republicans narrowly failed to pass an ObamaCare repeal bill.
After McConnell said in a speech earlier this month that Trump had “excessive expectations” about moving his legislative agenda through Congress, Trump lashed out at the majority leader on Twitter, questioning why McConnell has not been able to accomplish longtime GOP campaign promises.
He later suggested to reporters at his Bedminster, N.J. golf club that, if McConnell is unable to pass healthcare reform, tax reform and an infrastructure bill through the Senate, he should consider stepping aside from his leadership role.
In a phone call on Aug. 9, Trump blamed McConnell for the Senate’s troubled efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The Times said the call descended into shouting and profanity.
The erratic president also accused McConnel of failing to defend him against the ongoing congressional investigations into Russian election interference and his potential ties between his campaign and Russia.