According to The Washington Post and other US mainstream media, America's man/baby president is in a very dark emotional state. His legislative agenda (to the extent there ever was one) is in shambles. He's losing his grip on the Republican Congressional caucus. He senses, quite rightly, that the media are out to get him, deservedly so. He who obsesses about ratings knows his numbers are in the cellar, more than two thirds of his countrymen now seeing Trump as unfit for office. Special counsel Mueller is closing in on Trump and his cohorts.
Paranoia is said to be the traveling companion of narcissism and Trump is awash in both. Now White House aides describe him as "brooding" and volatile.
Trump is now lashing out, rupturing alliances and imperiling his legislative agenda, numerous White House officials and outside advisers said Monday.
In a matter of days, Trump has torched bridges all around him, nearly imploded an informal deal with Democrats to protect young undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children, and plunged himself into the culture wars on issues ranging from birth control to the national anthem.
In doing so, Trump is laboring to solidify his standing with his populist base and return to the comforts of his campaign — especially after the embarrassing defeat of Sen. Luther Strange in last month’s Alabama GOP special election, despite the president’s trip there to campaign with the senator.
Sen. Bob Corker’s brutal assessment of Trump’s fitness for office — warning that the president’s reckless behavior could launch the nation “on the path to World War III” — also hit like a thunderclap inside the White House, where aides feared possible ripple effects among other Republicans on Capitol Hill.
One Trump confidant likened the president to a whistling teapot, saying that when he does not blow off steam, he can turn into a pressure cooker and explode. “I think we are in pressure cooker territory,” said this person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly.
This portrait of the president increasingly isolated in the capital city is based on interviews with 18 White House officials, outside advisers and other Trump associates.
“We have been watching the slow-motion breakup of the Republican Party, and Trump is doing what he can to speed it up,” said Patrick Caddell, a veteran pollster who has worked with Stephen K. Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, who now runs Breitbart News, a conservative website.
Further signs of the breakdown in the relationship between Congressional Republicans and this president have emerged from the unwillingness of Senators and Representatives to side with Trump against their colleague, Bob Corker.
“Senator Corker is a valuable member of the Senate Republican caucus and he’s also on the Budget Committee and a particularly important player as we move to the floor on the budget next week,” said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), walking a line that other Republican senators followed throughout the day. McConnell’s remarks were first reported by the Associated Press and confirmed by his office.
The reaction highlighted the broader strategy Capitol Hill Republicans have adopted when it comes to the president’s tendency to wage rhetorical war against their own or incite other controversies: Don’t engage in public no matter how anxious they may be in private.
That approach grows riskier with each passing crisis — exposing congressional Republicans to culpability for the actions, some with potentially grave global consequences, of an unpredictable and contentious president.
“They should prepare to be the ones who shoulder the blame if Trump does something truly, absolutely catastrophic,” said Rick Wilson, a Republican strategist and vocal Trump critic. He later added: “They forgot what moral courage looks like.”