No regrets: Trump exuberant in Oval Office after deal with Dems
Trump briefed on Irma by Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Adviser Tom Bossert, joined by SecState Tillerson (left), Vice President Pence and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell (White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)
Among Republicans on Capitol Hill, "I've never heard members and senators so angry at the president of their own party," one durable Washington hand told me after yesterday's round of check-in calls.
But hate-watching "Morning Joe" down in the White House residence, President Trump was feeling cocky. His surprise deal with Democratic leaders may create midterm headaches for his party, but it's winning rave reviews from the academy.
- Trump scans the print N.Y. Times, and Tuesday's paper had taunted him with a Peter Baker analysis declaring that Trump's "first seven months in office have yet to produce any big deals."
- This morning, Peter is back as the lead author of a front-pager, "President Tries Taste of Comity As G.O.P. Stews," reporting that Trump called Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi to crow about the morning cable coverage: "The press has been incredible."
Our thought bubble for the president when he spontaneously made the fiscal package deal in front of a chagrined Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan: "You say I can't make deals anymore? Hold my Diet Coke, and watch this! You say I'm beholden to Mitch and Paul? Watch me make a big deal without them!"
- A top aide puts it slightly more diplomatically: "He read the room. Instinctual. ... He's a dealmaker. He saw a deal."
Sources familiar with Trump's thinking tell Swan the president saw an opening in the Oval Office meeting to do three impulsive/instinctive things:
- Do something popular: Play the part of the magnanimous populist president rising above partisanship to cut a deal.
- Get funding for Hurricane Harvey quickly and avoid a prolonged fight on Capitol Hill.
- Stick the middle finger to McConnell and Ryan — especially McConnell, with whom Trump is fed up. (He believes McConnell is a failed leader with low energy.) Trump has enjoyed thinking about Ryan and McConnell squirming while he parades his surprise deal with "Chuck and Nancy."
Regrets? Trump has none. He revels in these moments when he can be unpredictable to the point where he confounds his own top aides and, especially, the press corps.
Be smart: If Trump gets to the fourth paragraph of the N.Y. Times story, he'll be reminded: "He is a man of the moment, and the moment often does not last."