Something weird has been happening in Washington — President Donald Trump has been palling around with Democrats.
This week, he met the pair again over Chinese food to discuss protecting DREAMers from deportation — and while there's no final deal yet, they all agreed on the overall structure of one.
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In addition to dealings with the leaders he now calls "Chuck and Nancy," Trump seems increasingly set on winning Democratic votes for his tax reform bill, even though GOP leaders want a partisan strategy.
And in a presidency that's so often been joyless and combative, Trump now seems to be having fun — reports claim he was "jovial" at this week's meeting with Democrats, and that he just seems to enjoy spending time with his fellow New Yorker Schumer.
"He likes us. He likes me, anyway," Schumer was overheard saying on a Senate hot mic Thursday.
Trump has several motivations here. He seems to want to improve his image (he's reportedly been thrilled at positive media coverage of his bipartisan dealings). He's personally disappointed and frustrated with Republican leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell's strategic advice and lack of legislative success so far.
But perhaps most importantly, it has finally sunk in to Trump that under the Senate's current rules, he needs 60 votes to get bills through — and since there are only 52 Republican senators, that means he needs Democrats.
Democrats, for their part, have realized that Trump cares more about getting "wins" than about policy details or ideology — which seems to give them a major advantage in negotiations with him. So if Trump's main goal is to get to yes, they can conceivably score major policy concessions from him.
So though partisan incentives are sure to doom this relationship as the 2018 midterms approach, for now Democrats are trying to get what they can from a president they see as a bit of a sucker — and Republicans aren't yet sure how to stop them.