In CNN, NPR Interviews, Hunter Bates Discusses Trump-McConnell Relationship, Tax Reform

Hunter Bates, co-head of the public law and policy practice at Akin Gump, appeared on the CNN program Erin Burnett OutFront discussing an article in The New York Times reporting that the relationship between President Trump and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has deteriorated.

Bates, McConnell’s former chief of staff, described the report as “overblown,” noting that McConnell and Mr. Trump “agree on 90 percent of the Republican agenda.” He predicted, “they are going to come together in September, they’re going to lock arms, they’re going to raise the debt ceiling, they’re going to fund the government and, ultimately they’re going to go and achieve what the Republicans haven’t achieved in a generation, which is meaningful tax reform to put money back in the pockets of hard-working families.”

Bates added that people are paying too much attention to President Trump’s tweets, “to the conflict and to one phone conversation. At the end of the day, these two guys know they have to have each other to succeed and they will.”

Additionally, Bates was interviewed by Ailsa Chang on NPR for Morning Edition regarding the Trump-McConnell feud’s impact on policy, specifically tax reform. Bates noted that, while the two men have “different styles” and disagree occasionally on minor matters, they agree on most points relating to the agenda, including launching what he called “a once-in-a-generation debate on tax reform.”

Bates also spoke about the high-level executive-legislative negotiations scheduled to be held until the end of the fiscal year on September 30, the qualities that McConnell possesses that have contributed to what Bates considers his success in politics, and the months-long strategizing undertaken by the Republican leadership on tax reform.