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Republicans were questioning President Trump’s loyalties today after he shocked Washington by striking several key deals with Democrat lawmakers.
Mr Trump’s sudden thaw towards his political opponents has left leaders of his own Republican Party baffled – and alarmed that the usual order of business on Capitol Hill could be turned on its head.
In the space of just two days, the president brokered an agreement with Democrats to keep the government funded and backed Democrat plans to raise the debt ceiling.
He also followed the advice of an opposition congressman who suggested he should ease the fears of young undocumented immigrants by posting a message on Twitter.
“Haven’t seen anything like it before,” said Republican Senator John McCain, who has served in Washington for 30 years. “I have no way of divining his motives,” he said of Mr Trump. “I’m a pretty intelligent guy, but I don’t understand this.”
Senior Democrats publicly played down the appeasement.
“There aren’t permanent alliances. There aren’t governing philosophies. There’s day by day, seat-of-the-pants management,” Democrat Senator Chris Murphy told the Washington Post.
But privately, they were hoping the White House’s willingness to listen to opposing views could help save some of the Obama-era initiatives Mr Trump has previously vowed to dismantle.
The agreement to avoid a threatened shutdown of the federal government over the president’s insistence on US funding for his proposed border wall with Mexico came as part of a package Mr Trump agreed to support legislation providing emergency relief funds to deal with the devastation in Texas caused by Hurricane Harvey.
The deal effectively raises the government’s borrowing limit for a period of three months.
Many Republicans in Congress, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, oppose extending the borrowing limit, believing checks are needed to control government spending.
Taking the advice of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Mr Trump tweeted that undocumented immigrants, known as ‘Dreamers’, who are currently protected by an order implemented under Barack Obama’s administration, need not fear being deported, at least for the next six months, after his announcement earlier this week that he was repealing the programme.
“For all of those (DACA) that are concerned about your status during the 6 month period, you have nothing to worry about — No action!” he tweeted.
“This is what I asked the president to do and, boom boom boom, the tweet appeared,’ Mrs Pelosi said at a news conference.
“It’s just been jarring,’ one Republican Senate aide told the Post. He added that at the start of the week, party officials had believed they were on the same page as the White House regarding the debt ceiling.
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