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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

7 hours ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

7 hours ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.

Republicans who put it all on the line

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters after voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A small contingent of House Republicans risked their political futures on Thursday, they say, in the name of constitutional responsibility.

Why it matters: The nine Republicans who voted to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress are now in peril of becoming political pariahs. They've opened themselves up to potential primary challengers and public attacks from their party's kingmaker — former President Trump.

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