After a chaotic week in the most chaotic presidency in U.S. history, the president is reportedly in a rage, storming around the White House with no idea what to do next to undo the mess he has caused with his ridiculous government shutdown that he wavered on for a week before finally demanding that any spending bill include five billion dollars in taxpayer funding.
Gabriel Sherman, a reporter for Vanity Fair, writes that:
‘Trump’s renewed veto threat capped a chaotic three-day period in which the president briefly gave up on the wall, enraging his base, and then walked back his walk-back in a head-spinning capitulation. “He’s over. He’s finished,” one Breitbart staffer told me. Inside the White House, some advisers fear he’s boxed himself in, with disastrous results in every direction. “He’s losing it,” one former West Wing official said. “He doesn’t know which way to turn.”’
.@realDonaldTrump rejects 100-0 Senate compromise he said he’d accept, manages only 47 Senate votes for Big Dumb Wall bill (48 w/ Pence), shuts down government.
Chaos and incompetence reign.
— Sheldon Whitehouse (@SenWhitehouse) December 22, 2018
Trump first said he would be “proud” to own the shutdown, that he would take the mantle, and that he would not blame the Democrats for it. That quickly reversed when the American people grew furious that Trump decided to play political games with their ability to support themselves and their children, and at Christmastime.
Trump’s demands made his base happy after extreme right-wing pundits Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh vowed not to vote for him again if he didn’t make those demands, but Trump’s base has shrunk considerably, anyway. The game he’s playing with a government shutdown will not help him in 2020.
‘The remark thrilled his base, but ignored the facts on the ground: Trump’s shutdown threat, at a time when he’s weakened by a slumping stock market and Robert Mueller’s accelerating investigation, did not give him enough leverage to convert votes in Congress for the wall. “Trump said it, but then reality kicked in,” a former West Wing official said. “The ‘win the day’ on Fox strategy didn’t work,” a Republican close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.’
Instead of considering what was good for the American people, Trump chose to play the strongman and capitulate to the media figures he needs the support of. Although he seemed as if he would try to act with some sense, those media figures convinced him to change his mind. Coulter, Limbaugh, and the most extreme figures on Fox News are now dictating policy.
‘The base revolted. On Wednesday, Ann Coulter told the Daily Caller that Trump was “a joke presidency who scammed the American people, amused the populists for a while, but he’ll have no legacy whatsoever.” On Fox, Sean Hannity and the Fox & Friends hosts lit into the decision. “Trump didn’t understand these are the people who stand on Fifth Avenue when he shoots the bullet,” the former West Wing official said. A third former West Wing official told me: “You can’t keep saying we’re going to build the wall, and Mexico is going to pay for it, but then not do it.”’
Republicans control the House, the Senate, & the White House. But instead of honoring his responsibility to the American people, @realDonaldTrump threw a temper tantrum & convinced the @HouseGOP to push our nation into a destructive #TrumpShutdown during the holiday season.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) December 22, 2018
It’s a mess of Trump’s own making, and now he’ll have to deal with it. According to insiders at the White House, he’s not dealing with it very well at all.
‘Now, Trump has hours to negotiate his way out of one of the worst crises of his presidency. No matter what happens, allies fear the episode has revealed Trump’s inability to govern at a moment when Democrats are about to open political warfare on the White House. “They’re absolutely going to crush him. He has no idea what’s coming his way,” the Republican said.’
President Trump’s Christmas gift to America, the #TrumpShutdown hurts the people the federal gov purports to serve. The Senate Dems did their best to avoid this and keep government delivering. Let’s be clear: this was avoidable.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) December 22, 2018
Trump’s crisis presidency will not last forever, but his legacy of weakness and partisan games will follow him forever.