Donald Trump’s personality consists of one part perceiving every question, disagreement, or joke as a deadly insult that must be avenged. At all costs. Especially cost to others. And one part … No, wait. There’s just one part.
In a matter of days, Trump has torched bridges all around him, nearly imploded an informal deal with Democrats to protect young undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, and plunged himself into the culture wars on issues ranging from birth control to the national anthem.
Once upon a time, there was a perception that John Kelly was stepping in to take control of the Trump White House and make the ship run smoothly. But the departure of Sean Spicer, Steve Bannon, Anthony Scaramucci, Sebastian Gorka, and Reince Priebus haven’t made things run any smoother. All they’ve done is made it crystal clear that the problem with the Trump White House is Donald Trump.
Sen. Bob Corker’s brutal assessment of Trump’s fitness for office — warning that the president’s reckless behavior could launch the nation “on the path to World War III” — also hit like a thunderclap inside the White House, where aides feared possible ripple effects among other Republicans on Capitol Hill.
After a caustic volley of Twitter insults between Trump and Corker, a Tennessee Republican who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, few GOP leaders came to the president’s defense Monday — though few sided openly with Corker, either. The most vocal Trump defender was the one under the president’s direction, Vice President Pence.
Maybe Pence could fly back to Washington D.C. from his fundraising trip to California, take his chair as president of the Senate, then get up and walk out before the session starts—that would show them.
But it’s not just Corker making Trump made. The furious is coming fast. WIth lots of sequels.
Trump in recent days has shown flashes of fury and left his aides, including White House chief of staff John F. Kelly, scrambling to manage his outbursts.
Corker’s “Adult Day Care” tweet is proving all too accurate.
It’s become clear that the only thing worse than the public Trump is the private Trump. His attacks on aides and staff have left everyone from Sessions to Kelly to Tillerson hiding from the wrath of Don. Now, with the White House emptier than ever and the world stubbornly failing to fall at Trump’s feet, the mounting anger has everyone ducking.
One Trump confidant likened the president to a whistling teapot, saying that when he does not blow off steam, he can turn into a pressure cooker and explode. “I think we are in pressure cooker territory,” said this person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly.
Trump does have his morning tweets. Which allow him to vent some racism, racism plus sexism, and whatever this is.
The Failing @nytimes set Liddle’ Bob Corker up by recording his conversation. Was made to sound a fool, and that’s what I am dealing with!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2017
But is it enough to notch down the anger. Nope. Instead, White House staffers insist that Trump “is not done with Corker.” Which can only do good things.
One Trump loyalist — noting that Corker has many more friends in the Senate than Trump does — said the rift could dash chances for a tax law overhaul or other meaningful legislation. “His presidency could be doomed,” said this person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity so as not to alienate the president or his staff.
Still, Donald Trump seems intent on making Bob Corker the top GOP contender for 2020. In this, he’s being helped by Steve Bannon, who has promised to dig up a pro-Trump primary opponent for every Republican Senator.
“We have been watching the slow-motion breakup of the Republican Party, and Trump is doing what he can to speed it up,” said Patrick Caddell, a veteran pollster who has worked with Stephen K. Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, who now runs Breitbart News, a conservative website.
It could not happen to a nicer party. If Trump spends the rest of his time attacking every Republican senator in turn, that’s wouldn’t exactly be the worst outcome.
Inside the White House, reaction to Corker’s comments has been mixed. Some Trump aides believe it is dangerous for the president to fight with Corker, the chairman of a powerful Senate committee who is not running for reelection and therefore feels he has nothing to lose.
Those Trump aides should just be quiet. Fighting with Corker … is a good thing.
The worst outcome is that Trump gets tired of losing fights with the media, football players, and his own party and decides to demonstrate what a big man he is.