The New York Times broke a story today revealing the shocking extent of the bad blood between the president Trump and Majority Senate Leader Mitch McConnell. If you are a Trump fan, the story makes for incredibly depressing reading given the precarious place the Trump administration is in after events in Charlottesville. The Times reported:
The relationship between President Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, has disintegrated to the point that they have not spoken to each other in weeks, and Mr. McConnell has privately expressed uncertainty that Mr. Trump will be able to salvage his administration after a series of summer crises.
What was once an uneasy governing alliance has curdled into a feud of mutual resentment and sometimes outright hostility, complicated by the position of Mr. McConnell’s wife, Elaine L. Chao, in Mr. Trump’s cabinet, according to more than a dozen people briefed on their imperiled partnership. Angry phone calls and private badmouthing have devolved into open conflict, with the president threatening to oppose Republican senators who cross him, and Mr. McConnell mobilizing to their defense.
Unable to take responsibility for his own failures, Trump has vented his anger and blamed the failure of Obamacare repeal on McConnell, who apparently isn't taking it lying down. This is not good for Trump, who has relied on his ability to cajole and bully Republicans into doing exactly what he wants for almost two years. McConnell's doubts about Trump's ability to salvage his presidency is a sign that the GOP wants out of the Trump experiment, and won't be putting up with his behavior for too much longer.
Yesterday, Matt Taibbi published a blistering synopsis of the Trump administration and its almost incomprehensible dysfunction, arguing that every aspect of Trump's personality that helped him get elected is now working catastrophically against him:
Life in the Trump era is like the president's favorite medium, Twitter: an endless scroll of half-connected little anger Chiclets rapidly spinning us all into madness and conflict, with no end in sight.
This is Trump's legacy. Because of his total inability to concentrate or lead, he will likely never do anything meaningful with the real governmental power he possesses – if he had a tenth of the managerial skills of Hitler, we'd be in impossibly deep shit right now. But as an enabler of behavior, as a stoker of arguments and hardener of resentments, he has no equal. Under Trump, racists become more racist, the woke necessarily become more woke, and areas of compromise among all quickly dwindle and disappear. He has us arguing about things that weren't even questions a few minutes ago, like, are Nazis bad?
While Taibbi's autopsy is severe, he also reminds us that during his low points, Trump is also at his "most dangerous":
Trump has shown, once again, that his power to bring out the worst in people is limitless. And we should know by now that he's never finished, never beaten. Historically, he's most dangerous when he's at his lowest. And he's never been lower than now.
It is true that Trump's ability to turn a disastrous situation to his advantage is legendary, but there are bridges he has burned and goodwill he has incinerated that seems almost impossible to repair. Once the GOP calls his bluff and stops providing him political cover, Trump is a sitting duck and his Alt Right fan base won't be able to save him. At long last, this appears to have finally happened. While spineless and amoral, the GOP is still utterly ruthless and pragmatic, and Trump will be discarded when the opportunity arises. With an approval rating of 35%, the president has little leverage and will find his usual tactics fall on deaf ears.
As it stands, Trump almost certainly won't be the Republican candidate for president in 2020. And he may be gone long before then if the GOP can finally get its act together.
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