On Monday, a report said Donald Trump revealing classified information to the Russians
On Tuesday, a memo was made public that accused Trump of trying to shut down an investigation
It’s been a week and members of Congress aren’t hiding their exhaustion and irritation with what has been perhaps the most tumultuous week yet of Donald Trump’s presidency.
“I’m exhausted,” said Rep. Tom Rooney, a Republican from Florida walking out of the Capitol Friday afternoon, green tea and hot dog in hand. “It’s been a long week.”
From news reports Monday about Trump’s apparent leaking of classified information in an Oval Office meeting to the surfacing of a memo from former FBI Director James Comey alleging the President had asked him to halt the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, members of Congress have been in the hot seat answering for their President all week.
Rep. Mark Walker, a Republican from North Carolina and the leader of the conservative Republican Study Committee, told CNN that there might be “a whole lot more smoke than fire at this point,” coming from the media, but he can’t deny it’s been distracting.
“There has been some roller coasters this week,” Walker said. “Of course it’s been distracting. I’m happy to share that whoever’s fault it is … any time you’re dealing with this much stuff, you are having to spend energy, time and resources, which means by proxy it is a distraction from the other things you’re doing.”
Walker’s and Rooney’s comments came hours before another development Friday afternoon: A New York Times story which states Trump bragged to two top Russian officials last week that firing “nut job” Comey eased “great pressure” on him.
Trump’s consistent tweeting and bombastic style that made him so attractive to Republican voters in the first place and still have base voters in his camp have contributed to a nightmare scenario on Capitol Hill. No matter how much Republicans insist publicly they can chew gum and walk at the same time, construing they are effectively legislating has become harder and harder as a steady stream of bombshells have come from the White House.
In an animated interview in the Speaker’s lobby Friday afternoon, Rep. Mike Coffman, a Republican from Colorado who will face a tough re-election in a swing district in 2018, described what he believed was “chaos” at the White House, saying the week had “started off horribly” and been “incredibly stressful.”
“It’s not a question of what the President can do. It’s a question of what the President can stop doing. He’s not been able to make the pivot. He’s not made the pivot between being a candidate and being the President,” Coffman said. “What he needs to do is be the President.”
“Stop this ridiculous tweeting,” he continued. “I’m a Marine Corps combat veteran on the House Armed Services Committee. We are nation at war, and what the men and women in uniform need to see is their commander and chief is focused on the fact that we are a nation at war and not in a Twitter war with Rosie O’Donnell.”
Coffman said that he feels some relief in the fact that a special counsel was appointed to handle the Russia investigation this week.
“If in fact this were left to the Congress, we couldn’t go on,” Coffman said alluding to the GOP trying to forge ahead with their agenda.
Coffman said that ultimately what the “American people need to see is a President that is not impulsive, a President that is not emotional, a President that is thoughtful and deliberative.”
“I get it on the issues, but that doesn’t mean he has to create such chaos in the White House and such confusion in the minds of the American people,” Coffman said.
Rep. David Rouzer, a Republican from North Carolina, dismissed the idea that Congress had been thrown into disarray over the White House drama throughout the week.
Walking away, he smiled and added: “I think sometimes it’s just good to go home, get a little rest and then come back.”