Political News

Touting 'lovefest', Trump claims no divisions in the GOP

Posted October 25, 2017 2:01 p.m. EDT

— President Donald Trump, a day after public and nasty fissures opened within the Republican Party, told reporters his visit to Capitol Hill had been nothing but a "lovefest."

"We have great unity," Trump said, touting the "standing ovations" the Republicans senators gave him during his Tuesday visit.

Trump, standing on the White House South Lawn before flying to Dallas for a fundraiser, dismissed brutal comments from Sens. Jeff Flake and Bob Corker, two Republicans who -- after announcing they would no longer seek re-election -- have lambasted Trump's leadership and tone.

"There is great unity. I mean if you look at the Democrats with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, that's a mess," he said. "There's great unity in the Republican Party."

But Tuesday, if anything, reflected the deep chasm growing within the GOP.

Flake, in a widely watched speech on the Senate floor Tuesday, denounced his own party for being complicit in the "alarming and dangerous state of affairs" under Trump, assailing the President's "flagrant disregard for truth or decency" and accused Trump of engaging in a "regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms."

Corker's feud with Trump also exploded Tuesday, with the Tennessee Republican telling CNN's Manu Raju that Trump has "great difficulty with the truth" and that "debasing" the US would be his prime legacy as President.

The open feuds come as the White House and Republican lawmakers seek to coalesce around a tax reform plan. Negotiators on Capitol Hill and in the White House have sought to dismiss the idea that public animosity will affect the process, claiming that each Republican lawmaker supports tax reform, even if they are speaking out against the President.

And Trump, still looking for his first major legislative achievement, echoed that sentiment on Wednesday when -- in the span of seconds -- he slammed Flake while maintaining he will stand with him on tax reform.

"I think I am helped greatly in Arizona by what happened to Sen. Flake," Trump said, adding that the war of words wouldn't imperil his tax bill.

"I really know that they want tax cuts," he said. "They know we need it."