President bashes GOP leaders
Trump calls push to hike America’s debit limit ‘a mess!’
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.