Ever since the embarrassing failure of health care repeal, Trump and Mitch McConnell, our country’s two largest adult sons, have not been on speaking terms. It was previously reported that the relationship really soured after a call on August 9 that devolved into a shouting match over health care. But on Tuesday, The New York Times added a juicy tidbit: that Trump was even more mad about the Senate’s Russia investigation and McConnell’s inability or unwillingness to stop it.
According to the Times, “During the call, which Mr. Trump initiated on August 9 from his New Jersey golf club, the president accused Mr. McConnell of bungling the health care issue.” But Trump was “even more animated about what he intimated was the Senate leader’s refusal to protect him from investigations of Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to Republicans briefed on the conversation.”
This is part of a clear pattern. Trump is at his most enraged when people fail to squash the Russia investigation. Most infamously there’s former FBI Director James Comey, who was fired for spearheading the department’s probe, as Trump admitted. But Russia has been a motivating factor in Trump’s public vendettas against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, acting FBI Director Andy McCabe, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, all of whom either have roles to play in the investigation or were somehow involved in the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller. McConnell has apparently become the target of Trump’s ire because he is the Senate majority leader and the Senate Intelligence Committee has been investigating the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
As the saying goes, where there’s fire, there’s fire. Even when health care reform—a major campaign promise—was crumbling before his very eyes, Russia was at the top of Trump’s mind. His legislative failures and policy blunders have been embarrassments, his support of neo-Nazis and Klansmen has caused headaches, but the only problem he consistently treats with deathly seriousness is the Russia investigation. Only Trump knows how bad it might be, and apparently he thinks it’s pretty bad.