President Trump is finishing off a brutal week for the country. Have we finally reached a point in this Presidency where Republicans will stop sitting on their hands as Trump destroys everything he touches?
As the Washington Post reports…maybe:
President Trump began Thursday under siege, listening to howls of indignation from conservatives over his border wall and thrusting the government toward a shutdown. He ended it by announcing the exit of the man U.S. allies see as the last guardrail against the president’s erratic behavior: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, whose resignation letter was a scathing rebuke of Trump’s worldview.
At perhaps the most fragile moment of his presidency — and vulnerable to convulsions on the political right — Trump single-handedly propelled the U.S. government into crisis and sent markets tumbling with his gambits this week to salvage signature campaign promises.
The president’s decisions and conduct have led to a fracturing of Trump’s coalition. Hawks condemned his sudden decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. Conservatives called him a “gutless president” and questioned whether he would ever build a wall. Political friends began privately questioning whether Trump needed to be reined in.
After campaigning on shrinking America’s footprint in overseas wars, Trump abruptly declared Wednesday that he was withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria, a move Mattis and other advisers counseled against. And officials said Thursday that Trump is preparing to send thousands of troops home from Afghanistan, as well…[Pols emphasis]
…Trump has been isolated in bunker mode in recent weeks as political and personal crises mount, according to interviews with 27 current and former White House officials, Republican lawmakers, and outside advisers to the president, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to offer candid assessments.
“There’s going to be an intervention,” one former senior administration official said speculatively. [Pols emphasis] “Jim Mattis just sent a shot across the bow. He’s the most credible member of the administration by five grades of magnitude. He’s the steady, safe set of hands. And this letter is brutal. He quit because of the madness.”
The resignation of Mattis, which came in the form of a strongly-worded letter to the President, is causing political shockwaves around the world. Long considered to be among the most important rational voices in the White House, Mattis’ sudden announcement highlights several seemingly-haphazard foreign policy decisions by Trump that are worrying even his staunchest allies in Congress.
And the situation is only getting worse. As Politico explains, a shutdown cometh:
President Donald Trump warned Friday that “there will be a shutdown that will last for a very long time” if the Senate fails to pass a spending bill that includes border wall funding, laying the groundwork to blame Democrats for a pre-Christmas shutdown that would shutter wide swaths of the government.
Trump pushed the government to the precipice of a partial shutdown on Thursday, insisting in a meeting with lawmakers that he would not sign legislation to keep the government open unless it included $5 billion for his long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Acceding to the president’s demand, House Republicans on Thursday rejected a short-term funding bill passed by the Senate that included just over $1 billion for border security — not a wall — and instead approved legislation that met the president’s demands for border wall funding. The House bill now goes to the Senate, where it is almost sure to fall short of the 60 votes it would need to pass.
Trump already promised that he would own a potential government shutdown — before later backing off that threat and then doubling-down again when right wing commentators criticized him on Fox News. Trump has always been susceptible to criticism from his right flank, but the timing of this reversal and the Mattis resignation really reinforces the idea that the President of the United States governs via television.
Now, can someone please change the channel?