At a meeting with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin in Kentucky on Monday, McConnell said, "There is zero chance, no chance we won't raise the debt ceiling".
Which may be why Trump has apparently declared him an enemy. Angry phone calls and private badmouthing have devolved into open conflict, with the president threatening to oppose Republican senators who cross him, and Mr. McConnell mobilizing to their defense...
In Washington, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has a reputation as a legislating pragmatist whose political instincts have made him a force in his chamber. Susan Collins of ME, for one, said this week it was "too hard to say" if Trump would be the GOP nominee in 2020. McConnell has expressed his own frustration at the president, reportedly seething to aides over Trump's criticism of fellow Senate Republicans including Jeff Flake and Dean Heller, both of whom face tough re-election fights next year.
Going after Trump could also have potentially devastating electoral consequences for McConnell. So it's important to understand what the debt ceiling is and why Congress is going to determine whether or not to raise it this fall.
Getting rid of the filibuster for legislation would "fundamentally change the way the Senate has worked for a very long time", McConnell told reporters in May.
Trump calls on GOP to nix filibuster
Trump's salvo ran counter to efforts this week by the White House and McConnell's office to play down reports of discord. In his Phoenix rally on Tuesday our president said "If we have to close down our government, we're building that wall".
It happened after a bruising week in which Trump took some of the hardest hits of his young presidency over racist violence in Virginia. You can hate McConnell for not keeping his caucus in line if you like but in the end it's McCain, Collins, and Murkowski who sank health-care reform, not Mitch. That's why they've had such trouble even with executive orders, because the people writing them have no idea what they're doing and they haven't bothered to get the advice of the Office of Legal Counsel before issuing them.
But Brian Walsh, a Republican strategist who previously worked for Senate Republicans' campaign arm, called Trump introducing the idea of a shutdown "politically unsafe", and overall, described the rally Tuesday night as "counterproductive".
"There were a lot of differences that were papered over after the election not just between McConnell and Trump, but Paul Ryan and Trump and now I think some of those are coming to the surface", Massie said.
A White House official also told CNN earlier this month that Trump and McConnell had an animated conversation about health care after McConnell said Trump had "excessive expectations" about quick passage of an Obamacare repeal.
Trump even threatened a government shutdown in September if Republicans don't deliver him a spending bill that includes the money he wants to start building a wall on the U.S. -Mexico border. Such a song of unity was supposed to comfort nervous members of the GOP-led Senate.