February 02, 2018
A Republican Pennsylvania congressman who's leaving office at the end of his current term has harsh words for his party, rejecting President Donald Trump's assertion that the party is lockstep in how to accomplish its agenda.
Retiring U.S. Rep. Charlie Dent, who represents Northampton and Lehigh counties as well as parts of Berks and Montgomery counties, made the comments after GOP leaders gathered at a West Virginia resort to discuss the party's legislative priorities. Trump made a speech to House and Senate members, claiming Speaker Paul Ryan told him that he had "never ever seen the Republican Party so united," according to Politico.
Trump attempted to gloss over disagreements between House and Senate Republicans on procedure and tactics, and left without taking questions from lawmakers, bucking precedent for presidents at party events.
Dent told Politico that the GOP's inability to address difficult issues and differences between the two chambers leaves the party essentially paralyzed. Per the website:
It’s impossible for the GOP to pass immigration, spending and debt ceiling bills on a partisan basis given internal divides and the party’s razor-thin majority in the Senate.
Retiring Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) likened the party’s efforts to avoid discussing difficult issues to “a dysfunctional family. Dad’s drunk again but we don’t talk about it.”
“DACA, debt ceiling, budget, agreement, omnibus? There aren’t 218 votes on those. Are we united on issues? No. We never are. It’s not going to change now,” Dent said.
Dent's outspokenness isn't surprising. He's attributed Trump to one of the reasons he's calling it quits, joining a long list of Republican lawmakers in Washington deciding not to seek re-election. Dent voted against his party's plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and has rebuked the president's policy and rhetoric on immigration.
There's also the time the president accused Dent of "destroying" the party to his face.
While Dent takes shots at his own party with one foot out the door, the race to replace him is heating up, with a slew of Democratic and Republican candidates raising money for their respective primary elections.