It's unlikely we'll ever hear Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) publicly condemn Donald Trump. The GOP leader has simply worked too hard -- including dismissing a foreign attack on the United States -- to get to this point to start disparaging one of his partisan brethren.
But CNN reports today on McConnell's remarks yesterday to a Rotary Group in northern Kentucky, where the Kentucky senator left little doubt that he's not altogether pleased with his partner in the Oval Office.
McConnell, who has been relatively measured in his previous critiques of the White House, argued the President's approach to the legislative process is leading to an inaccurate impression of how Congress works."Our new president, of course, has not been in this line of work before," said McConnell according to CNN affiliate WCPO which covered the event. "I think he had excessive expectations about how quickly things happen in the democratic process."
Just as importantly, the Senate leader suggested the amateur president doesn't yet understand the "reality" of the legislative process. "Part of the reason I think people think we're under-performing," McConnell said, "is because of too many artificial deadlines unrelated to the reality of the legislature which may have not been understood."
One does not need a cipher to know McConnell was referring to Trump -- since the president is the only one who's tried to impose "artificial deadlines unrelated to the reality of the legislature."
The Kentucky Republican added, "I've been and I will be again today, not a fan of tweeting and I've said that to him privately. I think it would be helpful if the president would be a little more on message."
To be sure, as intra-party disputes go, McConnell's rhetoric was quite mild. No one will mistake his comments with a harsh rebuke likely to generate a presidential volley.
Nevertheless, slowly but surely, we're starting to see real cracks in the dam. Whereas Republican criticism of Trump was, up until quite recently, reserved for private chats and not-for-attribution venting, we're starting to see more and more GOP officials let the public know they're neither pleased nor impressed.
Given what we know of Trump's undisciplined antics, the problem for the party is likely to get worse before it gets better.