President Donald Trump felt “vindicated” and appeared to have a “new lease on life” following the completion of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigative work, said Republican senators who met with Trump privately Tuesday, according to reports from Politico, The Washington Post and others.
The content of that meeting, though, appeared to jar some of Trump’s party-members.
Per the Post, for example, Trump complained to the senators about the amount of disaster relief the government has spent in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria’s catastrophic landfall there in 2017.
Immediately after the storm — whose death toll ultimately matched that of September 11, 2001 — made landfall, Trump began obsessing over the island’s debt, and later fed a conspiracy theory that the count of storm-related fatalities had been artificially inflated.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) told The Associated Press that Trump said aid for Puerto Rico “is way out of proportion to what Texas and Florida and others have gotten,” after storms made landfall in those states.
The Post, citing the numbers Trump reportedly listed for aid to Puerto Rico, South Carolina and Texas, reported that it was “unclear where Trump got the figure for Puerto Rico aid.”
Per the paper, “Trump remarked that one could buy Puerto Rico four times over for $91 billion, according to people familiar with his comments.”
Trump also urged the Republicans to, again, take up the fight to repeal Obamacare. His administration announced Monday that it would abandon the law entirely in federal court.
“His real mission statement of the day was: take up a Republican health care package,” Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) told Politico.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Politico that Trump told senators: “I’ve got [the Mueller probe] behind me now. It’s a fresh start. So let’s see what we can do: starting with healthcare.”
“I was a little surprised he came out of the chute in health care,” said Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) told the AP. “He wants us to try again.”
One unnamed Republican senator told Politico, referring to Trump’s renewed healthcare push: “I want nothing to do with this.”
Per the reports, Trump bounced between different topics during the meeting, mentioning proposed changes to NAFTA, his anger at Democrats holding up confirmations in the Senate, and his desire to protect Americans’ intellectual property in China.
“The president talks until he is through talking,” Kennedy told the Post.