Days before his scheduled visit to Springfield, President Donald Trump mentioned U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill in tweet Sunday morning predicting Republican gains in the Senate.
“I will also be going to a wonderful state, Missouri, that I won by a lot in ’16. Dem C.M. is opposed to big tax cuts. Republican will win S!,” Trump tweeted about 8:15 a.m.
The message came among a series of Twitter posts Trump made Sunday morning about ongoing catastrophic flooding in southeastern Texas caused by Tropical Storm Harvey, the wall the president wants to build on the U.S.-Mexico border, and NAFTA.
It also came two days after McCaskill had welcomed Trump to Missouri and expressed hope that she could work with him.
Trump plans to visit Springfield Wednesday as the first stop on a series of appearances around the country meant to garner support for his proposed overhaul of the federal tax system.
Trump’s visit signals the strategic importance that Missouri, a state Trump won by 19 points in November, will play for Republicans in the 2018 election.
The state could decide the balance of power in the U.S. Senate when McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, stands for re-election.
On Friday, McCaskill’s office issued a statement welcoming Trump to Missouri and saying she hoped she could work with him on tax reform.
“This is an area on which I’m optimistic President Trump and I will find common ground,” McCaskill’s statement said in part. “I’ve talked in a lot of my town halls about my support for simplifying the tax code by cleaning out loopholes and goodies for special interests, and lowering the corporate tax rate — as long as we’re doing it all through the lens of strengthening Missouri’s working families.”
McCaskill held a series of town halls this month in areas of the state that Trump won by large margins in November. At a town hall in Warrensburg, McCaskill was asked whether she would support efforts to censure the president. She replied that her job isn’t to fight the president but rather is to fight for Missourians, which sometimes entails working with Trump.
News of Trump’s tweet about Missouri drew a quick response Sunday from the Executive Director of the Missouri GOP, Austin Stukins, who tweeted “#fireclaire.”
On Friday, Stukins had posted a tweet ridiculing McCaskill’s overture, writing: “I find it comical that @clairecmc suggests there’s “common ground” with @POTUS when she’s obstructed him his ENTIRE presidency.”
Trump’s visit to Missouri could expose tensions within the local Republican and Democratic parties as they prepare for the election.
One of Missouri’s most prominent Republicans, former U.S. Sen. Jack Danforth, has urged his fellow Republicans to disavow Trump and avoid joining him during his visit to the state.
Several high-ranking Missouri Republicans have said they will attend the event, but Attorney General Josh Hawley, a top pick to run for U.S. Senate in 2018, will be on a weeklong family vacation when Trump visits.