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Sam Jayne / Axios

President Trump increasingly feels (and knows) that he's fighting virtually every force in U.S. and global politics — even those who initially wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt or seem friendly.

  • The only people truly on his side are the 40 percent of voters who continue to cheer his middle finger to the powerful.
  • All those forces — basically permanent Washington, plus crucial world leaders — are deeply suspicious of Trump, and see an increasing duty to thwart him for moral or practical reasons.
  • "What goes around, comes around," said one of Washington's Republican pillars. "He was very critical of each of those groups. So why are they going to go to the man for him? He has done so many things outside the norms of behavior."

There's been a huge swing in the barometric pressure for these groups:

  • CEOs, many of whom whom engaged with this White House over the opposition of employees and shareholders, face increasingly intense resistance to oppose him.
  • Outside of the Saudis, the Poles and Putin, very few world leaders want to get his back or offer cover.
  • Most elected Republicans in town would privately prefer a President Pence. When push comes to shove, they may not protect Trump. Indeed, their natural impulse will be to throw him overboard.
  • Finally, there's M & M: Bob Mueller and big media, all combing through every meeting, business deal, and foreign contact by Trump and his staff.

On congressional Republicans, from Jonathan Swan:

  • For the moment, they'll stay quiet and muscle through because they want their tax reform, and they need a Republican president to sign it. But when [stuff] really hits the fan he'll have very little goodwill on the Hill to back him up."
  • Trump burned so much goodwill when he trashed the House health care bill as 'mean' after lobbying the hell out of them and celebrating with them in Rose Garden. That was a really profound moment — that he'd throw them under bus so casually on a piece of legislation that were already so leery about supporting."

Be smart: Trump increasingly questions the loyalty of everyone, including his own staff and personal lawyer. Every day, it feels like the walls are closing in and it's unclear who to trust.

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Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's "overwhelming force" doctrine

President-elect Biden arrives to introduce his science team in Wilmington yesterday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

President-elect Biden has ordered up a shock-and-awe campaign for his first days in office to signal, as dramatically as possible, the radical shift coming to America and global affairs, his advisers tell us. 

The plan, Part 1 ... Biden, as detailed in a "First Ten Days" memo from incoming chief of staff Ron Klain, plans to unleash executive orders, federal powers and speeches to shift to a stark, national plan for "100 million shots" in three months.

Off the Rails

Episode 2: Barbarians at the Oval

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 2: Trump stops buying what his professional staff are telling him, and increasingly turns to radical voices telling him what he wants to hear. Read episode 1.

President Trump plunked down in an armchair in the White House residence, still dressed from his golf game — navy fleece, black pants, white MAGA cap. It was Saturday, Nov. 7. The networks had just called the election for Joe Biden.

Fringe right plots new attacks out of sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Domestic extremists are using obscure and private corners of the internet to plot new attacks ahead of Inauguration Day. Their plans are also hidden in plain sight, buried in podcasts and online video platforms.

Why it matters: Because law enforcement was caught flat-footed during last week's Capitol siege, researchers and intelligence agencies are paying more attention to online threats that could turn into real-world violence.

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