President Donald Trump spoke candidly about several Senate Republicans during a fundraising event at Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C., on Thursday night.
Trump hosted a fundraising dinner alongside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) at the Trump International Hotel, with several Republican Senators in attendance. During the dinner, Trump riffed on his relationships with several members of the upper chamber, according to The Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey.
At one point, the president asked if Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Ak.) was present. Upon realizing she wasn’t there, the president said, “she hates me.”
“I kind of like her but she really doesn’t like me,” he added, according to a series of tweets from Dawsey. “We do so much for Alaska you’d think we’d get her vote for something one of these days.”
She wasn’t the only senator Trump opened up about, either. On Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Ia.), he said she pesters him about ethanol.
“Let me just tell you, she’s never happy,” Trump said. “No matter what we give her: 15%, 12 months, you name it. She’s asking for more. I’m like, Joni, there isn’t enough corn in America to get what you want done. She’s relentless.”
At one point, Trump asked Sen. Tom Tillis (R-Nc.) to stand. “You didn’t like me at first, admit it,” the president said. The New York Times Maggie Haberman reported that Tillis “looked super uncomfortable” as Trump went on.
Ernst and Murkowski in particular face what pollsters think will be challenging races in 2020. It’s not the first time Trump has had friction with them, either. In 2017, Trump went after Murkowski on Twitter, prompting her to plead for “a little bit of governing” in Washington D.C.
Trump is in the middle of ramping up his effort to help the Senate fundraise. The push comes both as the 2020 elections approach and as impeachment investigations move forward. If Democrats end up impeaching Trump, the president will need solid Republican support in the Senate, as they will decide whether he stays in office. On Friday night, Trump is heading to Atlanta, Georgia, to help Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) build up some cash ahead of a potentially competitive Senate race of his own.
According to Fox News, Trump’s riffs during the fundraiser may be unwise. Fox’s Ed Henry reported that McConnell had recently given Trump two pieces of advice on surviving a potential impeachment trial: talk to Lisa Murkowski about her energy plan and stop attacking Republican Senators.