A top Capitol Hill ally of President Donald Trump warned him on Friday not to let his simmering feud with Democrats stop him from striking a deal with lawmakers to tackle the nation’s infrastructure needs.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) appeared Friday on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” — the pro-Trump cable news show that the president is known to prefer — and implored the president to reconsider his stated refusal to work with Democrats on anything until they drop investigations into his 2016 campaign, conduct and finances. Graham, once an outspoken critic of the president who has become one of his biggest cheerleaders in Congress, warned Trump not to play into Democrats’ hands.
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“The best is yet to come,” Graham told the “Fox & Friends” hosts after outlining Trump’s assets for his reelection bid next year. “He has got to do infrastructure.”
Then, he directed his advice to Trump: “Mr. President, don’t let these guys goad you into not doing good things for the country.”
Trump sent a meeting with Democrats on infrastructure careening off the rails Wednesday, chewing out Democratic leaders and abruptly ending the meeting after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) accused him an hour before of engaging in a “cover-up.” He then held a news conference in the Rose Garden during which he railed against the investigations into his administration, complete with premade signage, prompting Democrats to accuse the president of staging the Cabinet room blowup and question his seriousness about an infrastructure package.
The incident has escalated in the days since into a war of words between Trump and his allies and Pelosi, whom the president derided as “crazy Nancy” at a White House event that was ostensibly about aid for farmers.
Pelosi, who has shown knack for getting under Trump’s skin, has lit into the president in recent weeks over his blockade of House Democrats. On Thursday, she suggested that Trump’s family and aides need to stage an intervention and contended that he is making his own case for impeachment. She also told reporters that she prays for the president.
Ahead of Trump’s blowup, it looked to be in the realm of possibility that the president and Congress would be able to work together on infrastructure. In April, Trump huddled with Democratic leaders to begin work on a package to rebuild the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges. Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) emerged from the talks with an agreement with Trump on a price tag for the deal and said they’d ask Trump to figure out how to pay for the plan, which was expected to be the subject of Wednesday’s meeting.