Trump's turbulent two weeks 'exhausting' Pa., N.J. Republicans
Philadelphia Inquirer. By: Jonathan Tamari
WASHINGTON — After two chaotic weeks that shook Washington, Republicans from the Philadelphia area are tired, frustrated, and facing political peril from the maelstrom surrounding President Trump.
They are not yet abandoning the president; not while tax reform, a health-care repeal, and infrastructure program still seem possible. But their anxiety is mounting. Republicans who hoped Trump would turn their long-sought priorities into reality worry that instead his problems may smother them.
“It’s been exhausting,” said Rep. Ryan Costello, of Chester County, who said he’d much rather expend this kind of energy on health-care legislation or meeting with constituents. “If we’re heading in a direction where it’s going to be like what we’ve experienced in the last two weeks, we’re not going to get things done.”
Every time a new story breaks, Costello said, aides are diverted to gather information and respond to press inquiries and constituent calls. Back in their districts, legislative initiatives are being snowed under. Dreams of fast action on a bold agenda have faded.
“It’s not what people are talking about,” said Rep. Patrick Meehan, of Delaware County. Controversies are “the stuff of what is on the front page of the papers, in the evening news, and it dominates the discussions at the diner. It isn’t about the things that I think are most important.”
The cascade of damaging news -- including Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey, revelations that Trump shared classified information with Russia, and the president’s inflammatory reactions -- put new tension on the awkward bargain establishment Republicans have struck: to live with an abrasive president who often makes them cringe, hoping it pays off in the form of major legislative achievements that are only possible with the GOP controlling Congress and the White House...
...The New York Times reported Friday that Trump had called Comey a “nut job” and told Russian officials that firing him relieved some pressure. Minutes later the Washington Post reported that a current White House official is a person of interest in the investigation into possible collusion between Trump associates and Russia.
That all came shortly after Rep. Donald Norcross (D., N.J.) had a warning for Republicans who stay on board with Trump.
“You know,” Norcross said in an interview, “there’s people who stayed on the Titanic until it went down, also.”