Trump Says He and McConnell  Are ‘Fighting for the Same Thing’

By Melanie Arter | October 16, 2017 | 8:24 PM EDT

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and President Donald Trump (Screenshot of White House video)

( -  President Donald Trump on Monday described his relationship with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as “very good” and that the two, who have been friends for years, were “closer than ever.”

In a White House Rose Garden press conference, flanked by McConnell, Trump said he and McConnell are “fighting for the same thing.”

“We are probably now - despite what we read - we’re probably now I think, at least as far as I’m concerned, closer than ever before, and the relationship is very good. We’re fighting for the same thing,” the president said. “We’re fighting for lower taxes, big tax cuts, the biggest tax cuts in the history of the nation.

“We’re fighting for tax reform as part of that. We are getting close to health care. We’ll come up in the early to mid-part of next year. We’re gonna have a vote - I think we already have the votes. We feel confident we have the votes. You pretty much know what the plan is,” Trump said.

“I believe Republicans and Democrats are as we speak working together very hard right now working together to do an intermediate plan, a short-term plan, because Obamacare is a disaster. The rates have gone up. The premiums have gone up. The deductibles have gone through the roof. I mean it’s terrible. You look at the deductibles. Unless you really have a problem, you’re not going to be able to use them,” Trump said.

McConnell said echoed those sentiments, saying he and the president “have the same agenda.”

“I want to underscore what the president said. We have the same agenda. We've been friends and acquaintances for a long time. We talk frequently. We don't give you a readout every time we have a conversation, but frequently we talk on the weekends about the issues that are before us,” McConnell said.

“Obviously passing a budget, which enables tax reform and tax reduction comes next, then a supplemental to take adequate care of those who have been harmed by the natural disasters we've been afflicted with lately,” he said.

“And, of course, the Senate’s unique role -- it seems to be a lot of people forget -- we're in the personnel business. There are 1,200 of the president’s nominations subject to confirmation in the Senate. The House is not in the personnel business. We are,” McConnell said.

“One of the unspoken elements that we discussed at lunch -- and it just is not talked about -- yes, we got a great justice, Justice Gorsuch, into the United States Supreme Court. He is going to be outstanding, hopefully for many, many years, but something that people aren't talking about is how many judges we've had approved, whether it be the court of appeals, circuit judges, whether it be district judges,” the president said.

​Trump also accused the Democrats of obstruction for holding up the president’s judicial nominees.

“The Democrats are holding them up beyond anything -- beyond comprehension. They're holding them up. I mean, frankly, they have terrible, terrible policy -- terrible policy -- and perhaps they're not even good politicians, but they are good at obstruction. So I looked at some of these numbers, between the judges -- and I want to say that we will set records in terms of the number of judges,” he said.

“The judge story is an untold story. Nobody wants to talk about it, but when you think about it, Mitch and I were saying, that has consequences 40 years out, depending on the age of the judge, but 40 years out. So numerous have been approved. Many, many are in the pipeline.  The level of quality is extraordinary,” Trump said.

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