Dec 19, 2017

Trump, in reality and perception, unchanged by presidency

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

A wise man told us a year ago: "You know who never is going to change? A 70-year-old billionaire with his name on the building." How prescient!

Why it matters: It's striking how little President Trump — and perceptions of President Trump — have changed as 2017 comes to a close:

  • He started 2017 with about 40% of the country with him, and ends 2017 with about 40% of the country with him.
  • He started 2017 haunted by Russian interference in the election, and ends 2017 haunted by Russian interference in the election.
  • He started 2017 with elected Republicans skeptical but compliant, and ends 2017 with elected Republicans skeptical but compliant.
  • He started 2017 with virtually every elected Democrat disliking him, and ends 2017 with virtually every elected Democrat disliking him.
  • He started 2017 at war with the mainstream media, and ends 2017 at war with the mainstream media.
  • He started 2017 with accusations that he sexually harassed women, and ends 2017 with accusations that he sexually harassed women.
  • He started 2017 talking tough but doing little to China, and ends 2017 talking tough but doing little to China.
  • He started 2017 with a lot of top Republican talent not wanting to work for him, and ends 2017 with a lot of Republican top talent not wanting to work for him.
  • He started 2017 on Twitter, and most certainly will end 2017 on Twitter.

Be smart: This is the rerun presidency: Every day feels like the last day. So it's safe to assume that 2018 will feel a lot like — wait for it — 2017.

There are only two people who can change Trump: Trump himself, and Robert Mueller.

Between now and New Year's Day, Axios CEO Jim VandeHei and I will bring AM readers our year-end thoughts on the topics that matter most. Sign up here.

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