While Trump and the GOP have been busy pretending that they 'won' the midterm elections last week, reality appears to finally be settling in with the president. According to reports in both the LA Times and the Washington Post, Trump is angry and despondent over the loss of the House, recognizing the enormous threat the Democrats pose to his presidency.
By any rational standard, the Democrats made huge (and growing gains) across the country. With real power in Capitol Hill, they are going to put Trump's behavior under a microscope and investigate him for every potential abuse of power committed during his presidency. Trump it seems, is beginning to understand exactly what this means. Reported the LA Times:
For weeks this fall, an ebullient President Trump traveled relentlessly to hold raise-the-rafters campaign rallies — sometimes three a day — in states where his presence was likely to help Republicans on the ballot.
But his mood apparently has changed as he has taken measure of the electoral backlash that voters delivered Nov. 6. With the certainty that the incoming Democratic House majority will go after his tax returns and investigate his actions, and the likelihood of additional indictments by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, Trump has retreated into a cocoon of bitterness and resentment, according to multiple administration sources.
Behind the scenes, they say, the president has lashed out at several aides, from junior press assistants to senior officials. “He’s furious,” said one administration official. “Most staffers are trying to avoid him.”
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, painted a picture of a brooding president “trying to decide who to blame” for Republicans’ election losses, even as he publicly and implausibly continues to claim victory....
Publicly, Trump has been increasingly absent in recent days — except on Twitter. He has canceled travel plans and dispatched Cabinet officials and aides to events in his place — including sending Vice President Mike Pence to Asia for the annual summits there in November that past presidents nearly always attended.
This is classic Trump -- he takes no responsibility whatsoever for driving millions of angry Democrats to the polls, and is seeking to blame everyone but himself. This is hardly surprising given his extreme history of denying reality, but as President Obama told Trump when they met in the White House, 'reality has a way of biting back'. The president may not accept this reality, but he must contend with it nevertheless.
It is not difficult to predict Trump's strategy going forward. He will fight Democrats tooth and nail every time they order an investigation, abuse Robert Mueller as indictments continue to mount up, and accuse the media of trying to destroy him. The more serious the scandal the more divided the president will make the country. He has successfully cocooned his supporters from reality, and will seek refuge amongst them as the evidence piles up against him. While he can count on his party and the right wing media to protect him, now that the Democrats can launch subpoena-powered investigations into his actions, this might not be enough.
If serious evidence is uncovered by the now protected special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, new information comes to light from Michael Cohen's allegations, or Democratic investigators in Congress find evidence of criminal wrong doing, impeachment may well be on the table.
Trump is beginning to see how this could play out, and he is getting very, very nervous.