Trump Is At The Center Of The Latest GOP Divide

President Donald Trump's tussles with some in the GOP have almost completely stalled the agenda.
Posted at 7:17 PM, Aug 16, 2017

It seems like President Donald Trump will attack almost anyone on Twitter or in a press conference — even members of his own party. Recently, the president set his sights on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

"Mitch, get to work, and let's get it done," Trump said last week. "They should have had this last one done."

That remark came after McConnell criticized Trump's "excessive expectations" for a party that's ideologically divided over how to handle big issues, like health care and taxes. But the GOP is also split on how Trump himself fits into a party he doesn't always see eye to eye with.

Trump became the figurehead of the Republican brand once he won the election. But it's not really clear if the president views himself as the leader of the GOP. How he tweets and talks about Republicans seems to be a way to distance himself from the party.

And with the GOP agenda at a standstill, the party is quickly devolving into a civil war over who's to blame. 

Some Republicans fault Trump; they say they believe this president has to do more to get more done.

Former Marco Rubio adviser Alex Conant put it this way: "Look, I don't care what the issue is; you cannot pass massive pieces of legislation without presidential leadership. There is no example in American history of major legislation passing without the president of the United States dragging it across the finish line. We just haven't seen that at all from President Trump yet."

But Trump loyalists say they think the divided GOP legislators need to get on board and follow the president. Roger Stone, a Trump adviser for decades, said: "At the end of the day, the president can command the Republican Party, but he'll probably need to enter some Republican primaries and defeat some establishment status-quo Republicans before the rest of them A) wet their pants, and B) get in line."

The two sides may never agree who's to fault for the lack of legislative wins. But there's one thing that's for sure: This isn't sustainable. At some point, everyday Republicans are likely going to want results; they're going to want wins on health care, taxes, infrastructure or something else — and the finger-pointing might start getting old.