Meanwhile, two senators – neither invited to the dinner – were simultaneously drafting statements saying how they couldn’t support the current bill, which they released just after Trump’s White House meal concluded.
Trump had no idea the statements were coming, according to several White House and congressional officials. His top aides were taken aback, and the White House was soon on the phone with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell…
White House officials said they purposefully picked veteran lawmakers who they saw as allies to attend the dinner with Trump, not legislators they thought were on the fence. But the bill was already on a knife edge, with a vote delayed this week due to the absence of Arizona Sen. John McCain due to a medical procedure.
Trump has privately wondered why legislators don’t seem to listen to him, and the blow from Moran and Lee illustrated the limits of the president’s capacity to master the art of the Washington deal.