Several Republican senators said the president again stepped on his messaging with an unfounded accusation.
President Donald Trump will have to look somewhere besides Republican-controlled Capitol Hill for backup to his explosive and unsubstantiated charge that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower before the election.
Trump was reportedly incensed Sunday that Republicans didn’t defend his allegations on the Sunday shows — in fact, several pointedly refused to lend Trump a lifeline when pressed. And more than 48 hours after the initial allegation, Republicans in Congress remained mostly mum as the controversy flared and threatened to create a lingering distraction for them as they try to pass major legislation in the coming weeks.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan offered no comment on the matter. And some of the chief critics of the Obama administration on Capitol Hill said they were aware of no evidence to support Trump’s claim.
“Boy. I have no idea,” said Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, appearing puzzled. “I mean, I don’t know what’s behind it. I’m hoping in the next few days we’ll find out,” said Thune, the chamber’s third-ranking Republican.
It was perhaps the most vivid example of Trump’s “tweet first, ask questions later” policy damaging the fortunes of the congressional GOP. Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) said the lesson for the president should be that some notions are best left unsaid.
“There’s something called the unexpressed thought, which would probably aid the president well,” Roskam said.