3. Trump's self-inflicted slump
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
Yesterday was a devastating day for President Trump as he heads into his reelection campaign and an era of divided government.
As Axios' Jonathan Swan puts it: He blinks; he disappoints the people who still love him; he gets no credit for reopening the government, given he already took credit for the shutdown; and we’re back where we started after 35 days of pointlessness.
The big picture: The shutdown not only wasted a month of Trump's presidency, but it accelerates a months-long losing streak:
- Trump is being outfoxed and outplayed by Speaker Pelosi:
- He ended the shutdown without getting anything obvious in return, after caving earlier in the week to her refusal to hold the State of the Union address in the House chamber.
- "Pelosi 2, Trump 0," a senior administration official instantly texted me.
- Drudge's banner, with a Trump pic: "WALLED IN."
- Swan tweeted: "A former White House official texts me, unsolicited: 'Trump looks pathetic...he just ceded his presidency to Nancy Pelosi.'"
- Maggie Haberman tweeted: "Not only did Trump alienate moderates with a shutdown, he upset his core 35 percent by caving — and, most significantly for 2020, did it all as Democrats held together on a major issue fight."
- Yesterday's indictment of Roger Stone references "senior Trump Campaign officials," "a senior Trump campaign official" and "a high-ranking member of the Trump Campaign":
- A "senior Trump Campaign official was directed to contact STONE about any additional [WikiLeaks] releases and what other damaging information [WikiLeaks] had regarding the Clinton Campaign."
- The midterm results left Trump weaker in battleground states than many people in his orbit seem to realize.
- As Jim VandeHei and I pointed out in November: "[A]ll the big trends are working against Trump and the GOP."
- Trump's election and Year 1 juiced the record bull run, but the stock market wobbled and dipped in Year 2:
Be smart: An adviser to top Republicans told me this week's debacle "rendered Trump impotent."
- "Total surrender," the adviser said. "Disorganized, disoriented and now disrespected."
- "The Senate Rs were about to cut and run. He had no exit ramp."
- "At least it got Stone off the top of the news."