The White House is gearing up to make an all-out push for that package of tax cuts for rich people that is Republicans’ last chance to end 2017 looking like they have a clue what they’re doing. The problem is, Donald Trump is once again getting in his own way. With Trump about to head to Capitol Hill for lunch with Senate Republicans, he’s feuding with Sen. Bob Corker—again. Corker went on the Today show Tuesday morning and ever so politely told Trump to butt out of the tax bill-writing process, saying:
“What I hope is going to happen is the president will leave this effort, if you will, to the tax-writing committees, let them do their work and not begin taking things off the table that ought to be debated in these committees at the proper time.”
That was in response to Trump promising no changes to 401(k) accounts.
response was predictably less polite:
That came just a few hours before Trump and Corker are expected to be in a room together for the Senate Republican lunch, an event at which Trump already has a bad history:
The last time Trump sat in on the Senate Republican lunch, in 2016, it was rocky. Trump, who was then the party’s nominee for president, sparred with Sen. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) and criticized Sen. Ben Sasse (Neb.) and then-Sen. Mark Kirk (Ill.), whom he reportedly called a “loser.”
So that could be awkward. Also slated to be in the room, Sen. John McCain, who denied on Monday that his comments about rich kids getting draft deferments for Vietnam because of bone spurs—as Trump did—were a reference to Trump.
Trump needs to win Senate Republicans over and unite Republicans around their tax cuts for the rich, but can he withstand the temptation to engage in distracting, counterproductive personal fights? His Twitter feed currently says no.