President Donald Trump sang a different song from the ones his party are fond of when he backed a deal pushed by Democrats to attach hurricane relief money to a shorter-term bump in the debt ceiling as well as keeping the government open, cutting off his own Treasury secretary to strike a deal.
This has become one of the most fascinating and mysterious moves he’s made with Congress during eight months in office.
The remarkable turn of events left Republican congressional leaders, in control of both chambers of the legislative branch, “shell-shocked” and “visibly annoyed,” and showcased how a President who also authored “The Art of the Deal” actually cuts one.
Trump’s stunning agreement to endorse a plan proposed by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi came during a Wednesday morning meeting with leaders from both parties in the Oval Office, the first such meeting of Trump’s presidency.
Several Republicans briefed on the meeting said that Trump, who has been absent a major legislative achievement for his first seven months in office, was hungry for a deal. It also came after he was warned of a packed legislative calendar that could have pushed off tax reform past this fall.
“The President was in deal-cutting mode,” a Republican familiar with the meeting told CNN. “He was sick of this fight.”
White House legislative director Marc Short told CNN, “We asked Ivanka to briefly join the meeting for an update on the child care tax credit and how we are working to make tax reform a bi-partisan issue. It was a quick and productive conversation.”