How Trump, McConnell kept GOP in line

How Trump, McConnell kept GOP in line

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WASHINGTON – In the middle of an impeachment trial that threatened to upend his presidency, a confident Donald Trump gathered two dozen Republican senators on the South Lawn of the White House for an unlikely celebration.  

Touting the completion of his new trade deal with Mexico and Canada, Trump called out the senators one by one as “great,” “my friend from the beginning” and – perhaps his highest compliment of all – a “big fixture” on TV.  

“Maybe I’m being just nice to them because I want their vote,” Trump said to a murmur of laughter from the lawmakers, who hours later returned to their desks in the Senate to hear the day’s arguments in a trial to decide whether to remove him from office. “I don’t want to leave anybody out.”

For a president who came to power eschewing Washington politics, Trump ran a textbook insider counteroffensive to the impeachment trial, allies and political veterans said. From courting vulnerable senators facing reelection to focusing on the economy, trade and foreign policy, the White House mostly avoided the confusion and confrontation that has plagued other pivotal moments of Trump’s tumultuous presidency.

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