Pres­i­dent bashes GOP lead­ers

Trump calls push to hike Amer­ica’s debit limit ‘a mess!’

Baltimore Sun - - NATION - By Ken Thomas and Catherine Lucey Washington Post con­trib­uted.

WASHINGTON — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump lashed out Thurs­day at Repub­li­can lead­ers in Congress, sug­gest­ing ef­forts to in­crease the coun­try’s bor­row­ing limit to avoid an eco­nom­i­crat­tling de­fault on the na­tion’s debt are “a mess!”

On Twit­ter, Trump said he had asked Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch McCon­nell of Ken­tucky and House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis­con­sin to at­tach leg­is­la­tion to in­crease the coun­try’s bor­row­ing limit to a bill he re­cently signed re­lated to vet­er­ans. Trump said they didn’t do it and “now we have a big deal with Dems hold­ing them up.”

Rais­ing the fed­eral bor­row­ing limit is a must-do item for Congress when they re­turn from sum­mer break. Congress faces an Oc­to­ber dead­line to raise the gov­ern­ment’s bor­row­ing au­thor­ity and avoid de­fault­ing on U.S. obli­ga­tions.

Congress also needs to pass stop­gap leg­is­la­tion to avert a gov­ern­ment shut­down when the bud­get year ends Sept. 30.

Ryan, speak­ing Thurs­day at an event with Boe­ing em­ploy­ees in sub­ur­ban Seat­tle, in­sisted Congress would “pass leg­is­la­tion to make sure that we pay our debts.”

Ryan also said he and Trump are in “con­stant con­tact” to work on a pol­icy agenda, adding “for me it’s re­ally im­por­tant the pres­i­dent suc­ceeds, be­cause if he suc­ceeds then the coun­try suc­ceeds.”

Later, in an in­ter­view with CNBC, Ryan said he didn’t view Trump’s tweets as “go­ing after me.” He also said the idea of ty­ing debt ceil­ing leg­is­la­tion to the vet- Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump tar­geted Mitch McCon­nell, left, and Paul Ryan in a tweet about the debt ceil­ing Thurs­day. er­ans bill had been con­sid­ered, but that they have more op­tions.

McCon­nell, at an event in Louisville, Ky., did not re­spond to ques­tions about Trump’s com­ments.

Dur­ing an ap­pear­ance ear­lier this week with Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steven Mnuchin, McCon­nell said “there is zero chance, no chance, we won’t raise the debt ceil­ing.”

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment has never be­fore de­faulted on debt pay­ments. Fi­nan­cial ex­perts have warned that de­fault on U.S. bond pay­ments could roil fi­nan­cial mar­kets.

Trump’s long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mex­i­can bor­der could com­pli­cate ef­forts to keep gov­ern­ment run­ning. Trump threat­ened Tues­day to force a fed­eral shut­down un­less Congress pro­vides funds for the proj- ect.

White House coun­selor Kellyanne Con­way stressed that the pres­i­dent was se­ri­ous about mov­ing for­ward with the wall. Speak­ing on “Fox and Friends,” she said “Any­body who is sur­prised by that has not been pay­ing at­ten­tion for two years.”

Dur­ing a news brief­ing at the White House, press sec­re­tary Sarah Huck­abee San­ders was re­peat­edly pressed Thurs­day about why Trump would threaten to shut down the gov­ern­ment un­less Congress funded some­thing that Mex­ico was sup­posed to be pay­ing for — some­thing Trump promised at dozens of cam­paign ral­lies to the de­light of his crowds.

When asked why Trump was no longer say­ing that Mex­ico would pay for the bar­rier, San­ders replied: “He hasn’t said they’re not, ei- ther.”

Trump again at­tacked McCon­nell over failed ef­forts to ad­vance health care leg­is­la­tion. Trump tweeted: “The only prob­lem I have with Mitch McCon­nell is that, after hear­ing Re­peal & Re­place for 7 years, he failed! That should NEVER have hap­pened!”

The lat­est tweets from the pres­i­dent came a day after Trump and McCon­nell pledged to work to­gether, amid re­ports of ten­sion.

McCon­nell and Ryan weren’t the only Washington fig­ures who drew wrath from the White House for crit­i­cal state­ments about the pres­i­dent.

After Trump de­fended white su­prem­a­cists last week after the Char­lottesville, Va., vi­o­lence, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said Trump has not shown the “sta­bil­ity” needed of a pres­i­dent.

Asked about Corker’s state­ment Thurs­day, San­ders blasted the chair­man of the For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee, call­ing his “ridicu­lous and out­ra­geous claim” not wor­thy of a re­sponse.

Trump and James Clap­per, the for­mer na­tional in­tel­li­gence chief, have also been trad­ing barbs, most re­cently Tues­day when Clap­per ques­tioned Trump’s fit­ness to be in the Oval Of­fice after the pres­i­dent’s free­wheel­ing ap­pear­ance at a cam­paign-style rally in Phoenix.

Clap­per la­beled the speech “down­right scary and dis­turb­ing,” dur­ing an ap­pear­ance on CNN, adding that he was wor­ried about the pres­i­dent’s ac­cess to the nu­clear codes.

“James Clap­per, who fa­mously got caught ly­ing to Congress, is now an au­thor­ity on Don­ald Trump,” Trump tweeted Thurs­day. “Will he show you his beau­ti­ful let­ter to me?”

Clap­per said he mis­spoke a few years ago when he said the U.S. was not col­lect­ing Amer­i­cans’ data. Doc­u­ments leaked by for­mer Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency con­trac­tor Ed­ward Snow­den later in­di­cated wide­spread do­mes­tic sur­veil­lance.

Clap­per told CNN that he wrote Trump the night be­fore the elec­tion say­ing he hoped the pres­i­dent would sup­port the in­tel­li­gence agen­cies’ prac­tice of speak­ing “truth to power.”

Clap­per said Trump thanked him for the note, then later de­picted the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity as Nazis for de­liv­er­ing in­for­ma­tion about Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the elec­tion.

OLIVIER DOULIERY/ABACA PRESS

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