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Photo: Susan Walsh / AP

In private, President Trump has taken to physically mocking M&M: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (slumped shoulders; lethargic body language) and Sen. John McCain (imitating the thumbs-down of his historic health-care vote).

Trump is venting about his frustration with what he considers failed leadership by Senate Republicans as he takes his lumps this week in wars with, well, everyone:

  • Steve Bannon beat him last night in the Alabama Senate primary, with the Breitbart-favored candidate thumping Trump's man by 10 points.
  • Moderate Republicans killed the repeal of the Affordable Care Act — again.
  • NFL players lock arms in opposition to him. And Firehouse Strategies, a GOP firm, concludes from new polling: "[V]oters overwhelmingly (64%) say that the President should focus on other issues."
  • He's getting pounded in social and conventional media for a slow, cold response to the humanitarian tragedy in Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory.
  • Bob Mueller is tightening the screws on Trump's staff, and is now getting data from the IRS about "key Trump campaign officials."
  • "Rocket Man" government says Trump has declared war on North Korea. WashPost: "North Korean government officials have been quietly trying to arrange talks with Republican-linked analysts in Washington, in an apparent attempt to make sense of President Trump."

All this has left Trump isolated inside his White House at a time when he needs muscle with the Hill and juice with the public to try to pass tax reform.

Be smart: With his stoking of the culture war and bombastic style amid national and global turbulence, Trump continues to make every issue about himself — at the very time that he most needs friends.

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Go deeper

Lawmakers reach deal on bipartisan commission to investigate Jan. 6

Speaker Pelosi outside the U.S. Capitol. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

House negotiators have reached an agreement on the parameters of a 9/11-style commission to investigate the "facts and circumstances" surrounding the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the House Homeland Security Committee announced Friday.

Why it matters: The formation of a bipartisan Jan. 6 commission had been delayed for months, after some Republicans insisted that the scope of the investigation be expanded to include violence by far-left protesters last summer.

Elise Stefanik elected No. 3 House Republican after Liz Cheney ouster

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) on May 12. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

House Republicans voted 134-46 in a secret ballot Friday to appoint Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) as the chair of the GOP conference, replacing Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.).

Why it matters: Stefanik's appointment underscores how important loyalty to former President Trump remains to the Republican Party.

Retail sales flat in April after huge surge in March

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

April retail sales in the U.S. were unchanged from March, which saw a surge revised up to 10.7%, according to the latest Commerce Department report published Friday.

Why it matters: The U.S. has been entering a period of growing optimism in the wake of the vaccine rollout, falling new COVID-19 cases and deaths, and a slowly recovering labor market. Retail sales were up 51% year-over-year compared to April 2020.