- The Washington Times - Monday, October 16, 2017

With Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at his side, President Trump said Monday their relationship is “closer than ever before” as they work on tax cuts and another attempt to replace Obamacare.

“We’ve been friends for a long time,” Mr. Trump told reporters in the rose garden after emerging from a lunch meeting with Mr. McConnell. “My relationship with this gentleman is outstanding.”

Mr. Trump has expressed frustration with the Kentucky Republican for failing to repeal Obamacare and to pass other parts of his agenda. Former White House adviser Stephen K. Bannon has even gone to “war” against establishment Republicans such as Mr. McConnell, vowing to defeat them in 2018.

Mr. McConnell said “we have the same agenda.”

Both men agreed that their approval of conservative judges has been one of their biggest successes.

Mr. McConnell said of the president’s tax-reform plan, “We are together totally on this agenda to move America forward.”

The president said he “would like to see” tax cuts approved this year.

Asked about Mr. Bannon’s push to defeat incumbent Republicans, Mr. Trump said, “Steve is doing what Steve thinks is the right thing.”

“I have a fantastic relationship with the people in the Senate,” the president said, adding that “maybe” he’ll try to talk Mr. Bannon out of some of his plans.

“The Republican Party is very, very unified,” Mr. Trump said. “We have no Democrat support. They’re obstructionists.”

Mr. McConnell said the goal of the GOP “is to win in November.”

“My goal … is to keep us in the majority,” he said. “Winners make policy and losers go home.”

He said the GOP needs to settle on nominees “who can actually win in November.”

The president also said he will declare a public-health emergency over the opioid crisis next week.

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