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Trump shouts to reporters as he walks with first lady Melania Trump to Marine One on the South Lawn yesterday. Evan Vucci / AP

A Trump adviser says that after a tumultuous seven months in office, it had finally dawned on the president: "People really f@&@ing hate me." For someone who has spent his life lapping up adulation, however fake, it was a harsh realization. This is a man with an especially acute need for affirmation.

This week's bear hug of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer opened Trump's eyes to one solution: Stop doing things that people hate, and start striking deals.

Who knows if this will stick. But there's reason to think it might, according to Trump's friends and aides. Here's why, based on conversations Jonathan Swan and I had in the aftermath of the surprising deal:

  • He can blame Republicans for his troubles. Trump has convinced himself he was duped by GOP leaders into repealing health care and blowing his first seven months on a fool's errand. If he can strike a few deals, he can reshape history to make the party — not himself — the culprit.
  • He can please the kids and New Yorkers. With the banishment of Bannon and his allies, Trump is left with a largely moderate to Democratic staff.
  • A senior administration official said of Trump's deal with Chuck and Nancy: "He just wanted to do something popular." He's reveling in the coverage, including lavish praise from "Morning Joe."
  • He can spend money, not take it away. Trump hates complex topics and gravitates to things you can build, such as planes or new infrastructure projects.
  • Remember he told Republican senators the House healthcare bill was "one mean sonofabitch." He said he wanted the Senate version to be much more generous, with no worry about cost.
  • One senator recalled Trump saying: "We're going to have so much ... economic growth, that we'll have so much money — more than you imagine."
  • He can liberate himself. He feels boxed in inside the White House and felt handcuffed to GOP leaders. No more. He had it with McConnell — thinks he's past his prime, no longer capable of leading. Considers him low-energy. He has much more natural rapport with Schumer, a friend from the New York days.

Be smart: With the expiration of vehicles allowing simple-majority votes in the Senate, Trump achievements soon will require substantial Democratic votes. So he was going to have to pivot at some point anyway, building bridges and finding new dance partners.

  • But we can't overstate the level of despair among Republicans. One person very close to Republican leadership told us: "He accepted a shakedown when he was holding all the cards. ... This is quite literally a guy who watches 'ER' trying to perform a surgery."

Will it stick? With Trump, who the hell knows?

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Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

British national named in Colleyville synagogue standoff

A law enforcement vehicle sits near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Jan. 16. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

British national Malik Faisal Akram took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue outside Fort Worth on Saturday, the FBI said in a statement.

State of play: Authorities had initially declined to release the name of the 44-year-old suspect or identify the hostages, all adults, though police chief Michael Miller confirmed that one of those held was Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who leads the congregation.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron — Deaths are climbing as cases skyrocket.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: West Virginia governor feeling "extremely unwell" after positive test — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers — America struggles to keep schools open
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
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Novak Djokovic loses Australian visa appeal

Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a forehand during a practice session ahead of the 2022 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 14, 2022. Photo: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Tennis star Novak Djokovic left Australia on Sunday evening, facing a three-year visa ban after an appeals court in the country revoked his visa.

Driving the news: Djokovic will not be able to defend his Australian Open title when the tournament starts in Melbourne. The World No. 1 is looking to break a three-way tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for most Grand Slam men's singles titles.