President Donald Trump has asserted that any failure to implement his legislative agenda after nine months in office should be attributed to the GOP-majority Congress. Despite placing the blame for policy gridlock exclusively on Republican lawmakers, Trump asserted that he and Republican Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky are unified.
On Oct. 16, Trump took questions from journalists in the White House Rose Garden. The president acknowledged that his administration had yet to produce the policy changes he had promised on the campaign trail, NPR reports.
"We're not getting the job done," Trump said. "And I'm not going to blame myself, I'll be honest. They're not getting the job done."
Trump has frequently placed the onus of passing legislation onto the GOP-majority House and Senate. On Oct. 11, the president warned during a Pennsylvania rally that there would be reprisals if Congress did not pass tax legislation.
"To all of our great congressmen, congresswomen ... all I can say, is, you better get it passed," Trump said, reports NBC News.
Republicans in Congress are currently focusing on a tax plan after spending eight months unsuccessfully attempting to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. On Aug. 7, McConnell asserted during a Kentucky event that Trump's public statements were contributing to a public perception that Congress was not being productive.
"Part of the reason I think that the storyline is that we haven't done much is because, in part, the president and others have set these early timelines about things need to be done by a certain point," McConnell said, according to ABC News.
The Senate majority leader added that he believed Trump "had excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process."
While Trump and McConnell had exchanged tense public statements about the legislative gridlock, they asserted they were in full cooperation during their joint press conference.
"We've been friends for a long time," Trump said of McConnell. "We're probably now, despite what we read, closer than ever before."
"We have the same agenda," McConnell added.
While Trump and McConnell expressed their solidarity, several GOP lawmakers privately asserted that the president was deferring too many policy decisions to their chambers, such as deciding the fate of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients and the Iran nuclear deal.
"The president created a lot of these things and threw a lot of them in our lap, but it's going to take a lot of presidential leadership to get this stuff done," a GOP congressional aide who requested anonymity told Politico.
"You can't just throw things to Congress and expect everything to work out the way you want it to without actually showing some leadership ... There's an obligation for them to show us where they want to go," the aide added.