Wednesday on CNN’s “The Situation Room,” while discussing the deal President Donald Trump struck with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to raise the debt ceiling through December 15, both host Wolf Blitzer and network political correspondent Dana Bash reported Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) were left “shell-shocked.”
Partial transcript as follows:
BLITZER: A source said President Trump left Republican leaders, quote, shell-shocked, today by agreeing with congressional Democrats on a deal to fund disaster relief, avoid a government shutdown and raise the debt limit. Let’s bring in our political specialists. Dana, I want you and our viewers to take a look at this photo, a photo of President Trump and Chuck Schumer, the Democrat leader, the minority leader, in the oval office. Look at that picture. They seem to be best friends in that picture, but Republicans were reportedly stunned by the president’s sudden alliance with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. What happened in the Oval Office?
BASH: What happened is that the president completely surprised everybody. The Republicans and the Democrats by effectively ignoring the pleas from Republican leaders in Congress to go along with what they thought was a plan to push for an extension, first of all, at the very least, 18 months for the debt limit. Because they thought tactically and then just policy and politically, for all those reasons, that they would want to kick it down past the next election.
Well, the president not only said no to that, I am told by a source who was familiar with the meeting, then the Republicans said, okay, 12 months. No. Okay, six months. No. Democrats were firm on saying three months, and that’s it, and we’ll tie it to the relief for Hurricane Harvey, and the president said, okay, deal. And at that point, the Republican leader, the majority leader Mitch McConnell said, okay, if we’re going to do that, let’s at least extend the funding for the government so we have it in one package. I was told the Republican leaders were shell-shocked.
They didn’t expect it. Certainly, the Democrats didn’t expect it. They thought they were just going to come out with a kind of agreeing to disagree situation, which they usually do, and that’s not what happened at all. And there are a lot of Republicans on Capitol Hill who are — feel pretty blindsided. But you also have a president who said, you know what? I am ready to do a deal. I am sick of this fighting. We’ve seen over the past couple of months that the president also doesn’t have a lot of faith in the Republican leaders, and I think this was an example of that coming through.
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN