What If The President Loses His Party?
Bloomberg Businessweek|August 07, 2017
What If The President Loses His Party?

Trump has to figure out a way to work with Republicans in Congress, or the global economy may be at stake.

Joshua Green

Donald Trump has a habit of projecting his anxieties while trying to mask them. You can sometimes tell what’s going on inside the White House by checking the president’s Twitter feed—and assuming the opposite of whatever he claims.

Take the recent White House shakeup that abruptly remade his senior staff. On the morning of July 31, Trump fired off a tweet extolling the booming stock market and low unemployment rate and then added, a bit defensively, “No WH chaos!”

This was a sure sign that the chaos inside the White House had reached a fever pitch. Within an hour of Trump’s tweet, the president’s new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, who’d been on the job for only 10 days, was sent marching. This followed the sudden firing of Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, which came only days after the resignation of Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Had Attorney General Jeff Sessions not been so determined to cling to his job—Trump called him “beleaguered” and publicly humiliated him for a week—he, too, might have joined the exodus. When Trump tweeted “No WH chaos!” what he was really signaling was “Total WH chaos!”

And yet Republican sentiment toward Trump’s shakeup was entirely positive, thanks to his appointment of John Kelly, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and retired Marine Corps general, to replace Priebus as chief of staff. “He will do a spectacular job, I have no doubt,” Trump vowed. “What he’s done in terms of Homeland Security is record-shattering.” For once, Republicans agreed.

Trump loves generals and turns to them whenever he’s in trouble. Last September, when the pressure to renounce his “birther” attack on President Barack Obama became untenable, Trump held a bizarre press conference at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, surrounding himself with generals. They offered glowing testimonials for 30 minutes, after which Trump renounced the birther charge in nine words (“President Obama was born in the United States. Period.”) and departed. As one White House official explained, Trump admires that generals have valor and are universally respected. He also understands, with the failure of the Senate health-care bill, that his legislative agenda is in real danger.

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August 07, 2017