Facing tax vote in Senate, Trump seizes on cultural fights

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump facing up his coming week on Sunday and tweeted that it was a “big week for Tax Cuts and many other things of great importance to our Country.”

But over the next 48 hours he dished out tweets and quips that instead put the spotlight on an assortment of other matters — Pocahontas, NFL players who kneel during the national anthem, his disputes with the news media and Democrats who are “weak on crime.”

The tangents diverted attention from Trump’s agenda at a time of maximum consequence for his tax proposal and with a crush of December deadlines looming. And they offered fresh evidence of the president’s tendency to latch on to particular cultural touchstones and refuse to let them go.

The president has been mocking Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas” since last year’s presidential campaign and he reignited the feud with a passing comment during a White House ceremony on Monday honoring Native Americans.

He’s been fanning the NFL-anthem issue throughout the fall football season. And he continues to bash political opponents like Democratic congressional leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi as tax-hiking pushovers who are unwilling to bolster law enforcement, the military or the nation’s borders.

Hours before a scheduled White House meeting with the two Democrats and Republican congressional leaders, Trump slammed Schumer and Pelosi on immigration, crime and taxes, adding, “I don’t see a deal!” The two Democrats abruptly pulled out of the meeting, prompting Trump to leave empty seats for them on either side of him in the Roosevelt Room alongside Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Trump’s broadsides may seem random but they serve the president well on another front, by energizing his core supporters with darts that are sure to delight.

Even as the White House is searching for the votes to push a major tax package through the Senate, the president and his allies are facing for a fight with Warren, a potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and vocal Trump critic.

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