Top Senate GOP negotiator credits Trump for advancing infrastructure, who repeatedly sunk it and threatened to primary Republicans who backed it

Rob Portman
Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio at the White House.
  • At Biden's bill signing, a top Senate Republican credited Trump for advancing infrastructure during his administration.
  • But Trump repeatedly failed to get "infrastructure week" off the ground, once rejected a $2 trillion deal, and is now bashing GOPers who backed it like Mitch McConnell.
  • Rob Portman, who is retiring, also raised eyebrows by saying Biden's infrastructure law could lower inflation.

Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, a key GOP negotiator who helped design President Joe Biden's bipartisan infrastructure law, credited former President Donald Trump for helping advance the measure during his presidency.

"By making infrastructure a real priority in his administration, President Trump furthered the discussion and helped Republicans like me think differently about the positive impact of investment in core infrastructure," Portman said at the signing ceremony for Biden's infrastructure deal.

During his four years in office, Trump repeatedly sank efforts to address infrastructure. His efforts to lead "infrastructure week" to no avail become a running joke.


Portman also argued the bill Biden was signing would help dampen inflation by pouring money to repair roads, bridges, highways, and ports — shoring up a battered supply chain in the process.

"That's why economists say this bill is counter-inflationary, which is so important right now as American families are facing higher prices on everything from gas to groceries."

Other Republicans are messaging that Biden's policies are causing inflation, and they are increasingly optimistic about running on that message during the 2022 midterms, as top GOP fundraiser Sen. Rick Scott told The Wall Street Journal.

Trump had expressed interest in pursuing an infrastructure overhaul stretching back to his 2016 campaign. But he repeatedly failed to get it off the ground on Capitol Hill.

During his last push in May 2019, he stormed out of a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and demanded the pair stop investigating his administration while in striking distance of a $2 trillion deal. Trump ultimately shot it down.

Since the summer, the former president has threatened to primary Republicans who helped Biden lock in a major legislative victory. He recently assailed Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the top Senate Republican, as "an old crow" for backing the infrastructure law. Trump also said McConnell was jeopardizing the GOP's midterm election prospects by helping get the law passed.

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