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To derail infrastructure talks, Trump ups the pressure on GOP

Donald Trump has settled on a basic idea: If he couldn't have an infrastructure deal, President Biden shouldn't get one, either.

It's easy to forget, but about halfway through Donald Trump's presidency, the Republican briefly raised the prospect of negotiating an infrastructure deal. In May 2019, however, he pulled the plug for a ridiculous reason.

According to Trump's own version of events, he presented Democrats with an offer: the White House would work on infrastructure if Dems agreed to stop investigating the then-president's many scandals. Democratic leaders, naturally, said that wasn't an option -- they added, of course, that Congress can legislate and conduct oversight at the same time -- at which point Trump abandoned the process.

Two years later, the Republican appears to have settled on a new idea: if he couldn't have an infrastructure deal, President Biden shouldn't get one, either.

About a month ago, the former president pushed a muddled line against bipartisan talks, suggesting Republicans should both grow and shrink Democratic offers. Around the same time, Trump appeared on Fox News and compared negotiating with Democrats to Nazi appeasement ahead of World War II.

This week, the former president is upping the pressure, telling congressional Republicans, "Don't do the infrastructure deal." Trump added, "Senate Republicans are being absolutely savaged by Democrats on the so-called 'bipartisan' infrastructure bill."

Trump didn't point to anything specific -- he's not exactly a policy-oriented guy -- or explain what it is about the bipartisan framework he finds objectionable. He just denounced it and directed GOP senators to do as he requested.

The former president followed this up with a statement that was far more amusing than he intended.

"Who are these RINO Republicans that are so dedicated to giving the Radical Left Democrats a big and beautiful win on Infrastructure? Republican voters will never forget their name, nor will the people of our Country!"

Or put another way, Trump wants to know the names of the Republicans whose names will never be forgotten.

But note the point of the former president's pitch: if GOP senators reach a bipartisan agreement on infrastructure, it will mean "a big and beautiful win" for people Trump doesn't like. Ergo, Republicans should defeat any compromises.

This did not go unnoticed on Capitol Hill. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) delivered floor remarks late yesterday, telling his colleagues, "Look, there are always going to be radical voices on the far right who brook no compromise. But that's only a recipe for obstruction and gridlock. We have the opportunity right now to actually accomplish something good for the American people. Will our Republican colleagues follow the absurd demands of the disgraced former president and his media allies? Or will they get a good, bipartisan deal over the finish line?"

Schumer concluded, "Republican senators must ignore former President Trump if we're ever going to make progress for the American people. He is rooting for our entire political system to fail. I and the rest of my Democratic colleagues are rooting for a deal."