President Trump is seen by some in Congress as a leader who bullies even his allies. His tough approach has created some doubt among GOP lawmakers about whether any political sacrifice will be rewarded, even remembered, by the president.
Trump’s intense criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the only senator to endorse Trump for most of last year’s campaign, has sent waves of surprise through the ranks of GOP leadership on Capitol Hill. Many have rallied to Sessions defense.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who worked with Sessions on the Judiciary Committee, said Trump “belittling and humiliating the attorney general” was “unseemly” and “inappropriate.” The public shots are “a sign of great weakness on the part of President Trump,” he said.
Some are bothered by the fact that it seems Trump wants to embarrass those he targets. It has been noted that Sessions sacrificed by resigning from the safety of his senate seat to join the executive branch and work for Trump. They say it is wrong that Sessions is a focus of the president’s criticism for only following Justice Department rules in recusing himself from oversight of the Russian probe.
The president just recently went after Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) for joining Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) in voting against a motion to proceed on health care legislation. He said that Murkowski “really let Republicans, and our country, down.”
Murkowski responded, “Quite honestly, I don’t think it’s wise to be operating on a daily basis thinking about what, a statement or a response, that causes you to be fearful of your electoral prospects,” she said. “We’re here to govern. We’re here to legislate. We’re here to represent the people that sent us here.”
Although Lindsey Graham has been vocal in his defense of Sessions and his concern over Trump’s tactics, other GOP lawmakers avoid the limelight. They don’t want to be the next Trump target. One Republican senator said that the president should be raising his concerns privately.
“He should have handled it one-on-one, and he shouldn’t have done it publicly,” said the lawmaker. Another senator said Republicans on Capitol Hill believe that there’s no guarantee that taking a political risk to do the president a favor will be remembered or rewarded in the future. “That’s self-evident,” said the lawmaker.
And another GOP lawmaker said that fear would make it less likely that Republicans will be willing to risk their futures to pass health care reform. “What happens when someone punches you in the nose?” asked a Republican lawmaker in response to Trump’s attacks on current and former GOP colleagues.
One GOP senator has compared Trump to George Steinbrenner, the late owner of the New York Yankees. He had a notorious and contentious relationship with his team’s managers and stars.
“It’s like George Steinbrenner and Billy Martin, they won a few World Series together,” the lawmaker said, referring to the former Yankees manager whom Steinbrenner fired multiple times before rehiring him.
What do you think about the so-called “bullying” tactics of President Trump’s management style? Do you think the Republicans are just mad he’s holding their feet to the fire?
Credit: The Hill