President Trump is taking his outreach to Democrats to a new level, planning to host House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer at the White House for dinner Wednesday night.
The dinner date comes after the president stunned GOP congressional leaders by striking a deal last week with the two senior Democrats for a short-term spending and debt-ceiling deal. While GOP leaders wanted a longer-term package, the deal helped ensure immediate aid to hurricane victims while averting a government shutdown for now.
Now, Trump is trying to jump-start his legislative agenda beginning with tax cuts and tax reform. He had dinner with bipartisan senators Tuesday night.
A source familiar with Wednesday’s planned Pelosi-Schumer dinner told Fox News the meeting will follow up on last week’s sit-down with the Hill leaders.
Schumer, D-N.Y., and Pelosi, D-Calif., are expected to press the president on protections for “dreamers,” young illegal immigrants who had been shielded from deportation under a 2012 Obama administration policy that Trump has since announced he intends to roll back. The Democrats also plan to discuss ways to stabilize the health care markets.
Trump and his aides have defended the president’s new outreach to the minority party – which comes amid some frustration at the White House over the performance of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.
A senior source inside Tuesday’s dinner with bipartisan senators told Fox News that Trump’s new strategy is to meet and work with lawmakers across the aisle — in part, an effort to “shed” the guidance from the Reince Priebus-era where the former chief of staff and his aides held the view that the president should only work with GOP leaders like Ryan and McConnell.
But after the failure of the health care bill and other legislative frustrations, Trump is reverting to a strategy that has worked for him in the past, before his time in the White House. The source said Trump ran an “unconventional campaign” with “unconventional” methods – and the “conventional” methods that were used in the first part of the year were not working for him.
Fox News’ John Roberts, Serafin Gomez and Chad Pergram contributed to this report.