Aug 17, 2017

Trump's 7 months of self-destruction

Evan Vucci / AP

President Trump, with at least two years of full Republican control of government at the national and state levels, has systematically damaged or destroyed his relationship with — well, almost every group or individual essential to success.

This has left him on an island inhabited by a shrinking band of true-believer voters, who can help win an election, but can do nothing to help him exploit the power he's wasting:

  • Yesterday's mass exodus of CEOs from his outside business councils was an unusually abrupt sign of the 210 days of rot and erosion in his support.
  • A vivid demonstration of the sudden abandonment of Trump, via CNN's Brian Stelter: Shep Smith said he couldn't get a single Republican to go on Fox News to defend Trump. On MSNBC, Chuck Todd said he "invited every single Republican senator on this program tonight, all 52," plus a dozen House GOPers. None would do it. On CNN, Kate Bolduan said bookers called 55 Republicans, and only one said yes.
  • Why it matters: Trump's undisciplined and incendiary style has left the most powerful man in the world with few friends — not onein the United States Senate, for instance.

Trump started with a pretty clean slate but has methodically alienated:

  • The public: Gallup has his approval at 34%, down from 46% just after the inauguration.
  • Republican congressional leaders — Senate Majority Mitch McConnell in particular.
  • Every Democrat who could help him do a deal.
  • The media.
  • CEOs.
  • World leaders.
  • Europe.
  • Muslims.
  • Hispanics.
  • African Americans.
  • Military leaders.
  • The intelligence community.
  • His own staff.

And who's happy?

  • Steve Bannon.
  • Saudi Arabia.
  • Breitbart.
  • David Duke.

Be smart: The presidency is a lonely job. But Trump is unusually isolated because he thinks he needs no one besides himself. As one of his most ardent defenders told me: "He's just not as good as he thinks he is. And no one can tell him."

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