Is Trump Being Forced Into a Corner?

Is Trump Being Forced Into a Corner? September 6, 2018

If you want to get a good feel for the panic level in the Trump White House, just park yourself on Twitter and wait.

President Trump has to be a horrible poker player. He just doesn’t seem to have the ability to control his emotions, and all too often it spills over to his Twitter account.

Knowing that, the fact that he hasn’t committed seppuku on the social media platform yet, given the last couple of days of really bad news is pretty amazing.

For this week, the president has had to battle back the allegations from the upcoming Bob Woodward book, that paint a vivid picture of an incompetent, petty man, seen as a bumbling fool by his Cabinet and an obstacle to be worked around, as they attempt to keep the nation from careening off the tracks and going over a cliff.

While those fires were being put out, the problem was compounded on Wednesday when The New York Times dropped a bombshell op-ed from an author claiming to be a senior staff member within the Trump White House that pretty much confirmed the attitude of the Woodward book.

According to the op-ed, there was a point in Trump’s presidency where the 25th Amendment was discussed.

The 25th Amendment is a process by which the president can be declared unfit and removed.

And while the guessing game has raged on with those attempting to figure out who this senior member of Trump’s administration may be, too much attention is being paid to that point, and too little is being paid to what the op-ed said.

Axios is reporting that there were two more senior officials that reached out to them earlier Thursday. It’s not looking any better for the president.

“I find the reaction to the NYT op-ed fascinating — that people seem so shocked that there is a resistance from the inside,” one senior official said. “A lot of us [were] wishing we’d been the writer, I suspect … I hope he [Trump] knows — maybe he does? — that there are dozens and dozens of us.”

Yikes!

Still, while Trump and his loyalists huff, these officials expressed the same concerns that were expressed in the NYT op-ed: Our nation is in the hands of a lunatic and they stay in an attempt to save the nation from him.

A good number of current White House officials have privately admitted to us they consider Trump unstable, and at times dangerously slow.

By “dangerously slow,” they don’t mean he’s moving at a snail’s pace, either. They’re saying he’s the Derek Zoolander/Forrest Gump of government.

He’s particularly so, when it comes to foreign policy.

You have to really take into sober consideration how that settles with the well-being of the nation, when you consider he’s not only dumb, but also paranoid.

The Axios piece goes on to tell of a handwritten list of suspected leakers that Trump carried around with him every day, last year.

“He would basically be like, ‘We’ve gotta get rid of them. The snakes are everywhere but we’re getting rid of them,'” said a source close to Trump.

Trump would often ask staff whom they thought could be trusted. He often asks the people who work for him what they think about their colleagues, which can be not only be uncomfortable but confusing to Trump: Rival staffers shoot at each other and Trump is left not knowing who to believe.

Paranoia, in fact, seems to dog his every step as president. He has obsessed over conspiracy theories and those “out to get him.”

“Especially early on when we would be in Roosevelt Room meetings, he would sit down at the table, and get to talking, then turn around to see who was sitting along the walls behind him.”

“One day, after one of those meetings, he said, ‘Everything that just happened is going to leak. I don’t know any of those people in the room.’ … He was very paranoid about this.”

So, to recap, we’ve got a book full of current and former administration officials saying things that are far removed from being flattery. It is enough to create a sense of dread, knowing this reckless individual is in charge.

Next, we’ve got an op-ed that seems to confirm the worst of what the book reveals, as well as rumors that have been out there, ever since Trump took office.

I fully believe that there are people within the administration that are there trying to guide policy and work for the best, in spite of Trump. Will these revelations, however, have an opposite effect? Will Trump now put his paranoia at maximum level and do something drastic?

That’s the risk that has been taken.

 

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  • IllinoisPatriot

    We’ve known from the early days of the Trump administration that Trump takes unprecedented amounts of “executive time”, comes to the office late (10:00am or later), takes long lunches (1 1/2 – 2 1/2 hr lunches), then leaves the office early. We know the work level of a President has not “gone down” and that the nature of the job does not allow for enough “delegation” to others to free up THAT much time.

    We also know that Trump is a micro-manager of his people since he does not trust them to do their jobs without his “oversight” and “approval” for fear they might “undermine” his authority. We have seen several instances where Trump administration has said one thing only to have Trump tweet out the opposite several hours (or a couple days) later.

    We have seen where Trump has blindsided his cabinet secretaries on several occasions indicating that he does not coordinate with them on policy (or cannot stick to a single coordinated policy) and that in each case of being blind-sided it was to tweet out a direction change based generally not on knowledge or reasoned thought but on Trump’s personal feelings or biases indicating a disinterest in rule-of-law or good governance or the success of any given policy – but only a petty demand that his feelings be accommodated by those that work for him.

    We have seen several instances where Trump has expressed “policy” that contradicts itself within days or hours (sometimes even within the same speech).

    The apparent “fact” that the WH staff and Trump’s cabinet has started to work around him and in spite of him – putting their own policies into effect should be no surprise as there is clearly no consistent policy or vision that has been shared by Trump with his cabinet nor is there any consistency to Trump’s tweets (and likely not to any of his staff meetings after the obligatory ring-kissing has been completed – in fact it’s possible that once Trump has gone around the table and completed the ring-kissing ceremony, the staff meeting is over because Trump has either lost interest or no longer remembers the purpose of the staff meeting and why it was called in the first place.

    Having known people like Trump (and worked for one or two of them), I can totally believe the reports from these “anonymous” sources (names clearly withheld to protect the health and lives of the individuals from Trump and #cult45 retribution) and am glad to see them being published. My personal belief is these are being published at a time when Trump is talking about going back on the campaign trail and spread more of his verbal poison among his base trying to put more of his sycophants and cronies into power (remember the Mar-A-Lago three and the VA ?) as either elected or unelected rulers (not “leaders” of the US government. I think they are (among other things) resulting from an increasingly hostile WH, trying to counter the “official” Trump party-line which is to discredit all opposition by attacking the source, and concerned that Trump’s vocal and violence-prone fan-base may succeed in anointing Trump “king” of the US or at least in giving him even more status and control over Congress and the levers of government which would only make their jobs harder.

    If there were ever a case to be made for federalism and stripping the president of the power that it has accumulated and usurped from Congress over the decades Trump has to be the poster-child for that case. His abuse of power (as constrained as those around him are attempting to make it) is leaking out on a daily basis and causing real, long-term, lasting harm to the US – internationally and domestically with his tariffs and divisiveness and the general level of hatred and vitriol he has unleashed from the alt-right.

    If Trump has painted himself into a corner, I say: “It’s about time” and “It was totally expected – all bullies eventually do when they can no longer outrun the consequences of their own actions”. Now the major question is whether or not Trump will ever be prosecuted or see ANY lasting consequences or whether he (like Obama and Clinton before him) will be given a pass by DC and never brought up on charges or investigated for his greed and the damage he has done while in office.

    If not, the general level anger and of distrust of government of the American voters will only continue to grow and the tribal rivalries will rage on because both sides know that they can now take pot-shots at each other by “electing” their own bully to the WH where one man wields enough power to over-rule, intimidate and control even the other two supposedly “co-equal” branches of government. We will see a march-to-the-bottom of human nature as more-and-more ruthless brands of Trumpian bullies progressively occupy the WH and with each iteration, less than one-half the electorate celebrates the humiliation of the majority while a larger-and-larger percentage of the electorate are forced to sit on the sidelines, refusing to vote for either tribe, but not yet large enough in numbers to vote out both tribes and put in true leadership.

  • chemical

    If there were ever a case to be made for federalism and stripping the president of the power that it has accumulated and usurped from Congress over the decades Trump has to be the poster-child for that case. His abuse of power (as constrained as those around him are attempting to make it) is leaking out on a daily basis and causing real, long-term, lasting harm to the US…

    This right here, although some of the president’s power should have been stripped 20 years ago. War powers, particularly. We might not have gotten entangled in all these Middle East boondoggles if Bush and Obama had asked Congress to declare war on a country before taking military action there. When was the last time Congress actually declared war, anyways? WWII?

    …the general level anger and of distrust of government of the American voters will only continue to grow and the tribal rivalries will rage on because both sides know that they can now take pot-shots at each other by “electing” their own bully to the WH where one man wields enough power to over-rule, intimidate and control even the other two supposedly “co-equal” branches of government.

    I fear this, too, and I’m a bleeding heart liberal. I suspect it has to do with party primaries and gerrymandering. Gerrymandering lets politicians choose the voters, and the primaries let partisan hacks rise to the top. Too many politicians have been putting party over country.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    yes – the last time Congress declared war was WWII. Korea was labeled a “police action” as was Vietnam. Iraq, Afghanistan, etc as well as Grenada, Libya, etc were all “overseas contingencies” or “police actions” – never a “war” where Congress got involved.

    I belive GW Bush got congressional approval for his Desert Storm and Desert Shield actions but mostly because he had to in order to get funding beyond the 90-day mark. A state of war was never actually declared.

    —–

    The level of over-reach and power-grabs from the WH over Constitutionally defined powers of the Legislature has been growing from Clinton to GW Bush to Obama to Trump. If it gets much worse than it is under Trump, we may soon see a President decide to call off elections and just nominate himself “President for Life” – likely with a reference to “good of the Country” and “in the name of National Security”. Trump is already using “National Security” as an excuse for his proposals on censoring the press and only allowing them to print articles the government (ie Trump himself) approves of. Did you notice that Trump demanded that the NYT “turn over” the identity of the anonymous op-ed author to “the government” in the interest of “National Security” ? Trump is already laying the groundwork for a President to become dictator. Perhaps Trump will yet be the one to attempt to declare himself “President for Life” of the US…. — if so, you can bet it will be for “National Security” purposes…..

  • Ellen Elmore

    If Trump goes down he will go down fighting and make everyone near him miserable. I feel sorry for Melania & Barron. They didn’t sign up for this and must be suffering intense anxiety because of Trump being president. They deserve better and so does the country. I don’t see how we get out of this mess. Everyone is afraid of Trump so I don’t think anyone has the courage to come forward with a name. But the NYT op-ed and Bob Woodward’s book are a start in the right direction.

  • JASmius

    Is Trump being forced into a corner? I don’t think so, in the sense that Trump doesn’t have to be “forced” into a place that he’s always loved to reside of his own cathartic choosing. He revels in being “in the corner”. He orgasmically enjoys being besieged, under fire and attack from all sides, fighting from underneath, the Rocky Balboa of his own imagined personal story. Why else would everything he does be designed to make as many enemies and drive away as many friends and allies as he possibly can? The only ones of the latter that remain are those weak enough to be corrupted and/or browbeaten into boot-licking submission, and even they’re not truly loyal to him, but are motivated by, punnily enough, fear. Just look at how frantically his “senior officials” lunged to social media or the nearest microphone to obsequiously assure their boss that none of them were the anonymous author of the New York Times op-ed, even though many of them were quoted in Bob Woodward’s book by name saying pretty much the same thing. And none of it will matter, as Trump has launched his own witch hunt to out this person as though that were the most important mission a POTUS has ever had. Because in his mind, it is. DEFCON 1 is not about national security, but about ego-polishing and punishing anybody and everybody who does not bow the knee to him. And in the process, all the dysfunction discussed in the Times op-ed will be amplified and exacerbated, everything reported about Trump in this op-ed and these tell-all books will be reinforced, and the disintegration of the Trumpidency will accelerate. And he will never lose the delusional conviction that he will overcome it all to stand, victorious and triumphant. That, my friends, is why Donald Trump loves “the corner,” and why he will never, ever have to be “backed into it”.

  • JASmius

    The question here is not so much of a POTUS, even Trump, actually attempting to overthrow the Constitution and pull an Emperor Palpatine on the country – we crossed that Rubicon in 2008 – but when the rot will have infected our governing institutions sufficiently that underlings will follow such blatantly illegal orders. That there are so many people in the Executive Branch who are resisting Trump’s “worst impulses” shows that we haven’t reached that nadir yet. If this push-back can ultimately be successful, the nation will get an at least temporary reprieve, but only because the GOP is so comparatively new to the authoritarian party. What concerns me is after 2020, when the Dems will almost certainly be running the government again, and they, being years further down the road of despotism, will move to avenge themselves on the Right, building upon Trump’s precedents, And when today’s Redcaps howl in outrage, citing American values, ideals, institutions, and the Constitution itself, what credibility will they have, having cheered, celebrated, and raucously supported Trump’s own assaults on American traditions? This was always the principle danger of the Trump candidacy, that he would tarnish and discredit conservatism for years to come, paving the way for an FDR-esque era of leftwing dominance. “But Hillary!!!” was always myopically short-sighted, seeking nothing more than to win a few battles at the cost of losing the war. Nothing I’ve seen in the past nearly two years has not fit perfectly into that depressing template.

  • SCUBAsabre

    “If this push-back can ultimately be successful, the nation will get an at least temporary reprieve, but only because the GOP is so comparatively new to the authoritarian party. ”
    ———————-
    I must tell you I literally gasped when I read this line. I’m a Libertarian-Centrist and lifelong registered Independent so I am not clouded by “team” loyalty in the GOP vs Dem game. To say that this authoritarianism is new to the GOP is just laughable.

    The GOP wants to dictate and restrict personal behaviors with layers of favored groups layering restrictions to all kinds of individual access in the personal sphere while keeping wide open business behaviors to the point of corporate citizenship that can have corporate welfare in form of no taxes and or bailouts.

    Meanwhile the Dems want to regulate business behaviors sometimes to the point of choking amounts of regulation while keeping personal behaviors and rights full access with a mix of light to moderate statist mixed in there for safety nets. I am admittedly a bit concerned about this Democratic-Socialist sect but they aren’t as large as it looked at first. Time will tell… I hope they aren’t the Alt-Right version for the Dems but rather idealists that get their heads shaped by reality. Time will tell on that one.

    Let’s get real shall we? Both the GOP and the Dems have factions that want to be authoritative/ statist about different things. Where are the adults in the room from either party??? They are MIA. We are currently in age of “in your face GOP/Trump brand” which by all Conservative standards of old is unseemly at best and I won’t get into what it appears to be on the other end.

    I get it you are TEAM GOP!!! but pretending the GOP is somehow is new to the authoritatian gamesmanship just doesn’t pass the sniff test.

  • SCUBAsabre

    Barron you are correct… he didn’t deserve to be thrown into this. However, zero compassion for Melania as she is complicit in this horror show. She is among the most obtuse people I have ever witnessed. She is willfully ignorant of her inappropriate and or insulting choices nor does she care. It’s almost like she is devoid of empathy. She says words occasionally but they are incincere in my observation (think Puerto Rico). My guess is it’s how she is able to remain married to Trump’s money… oh I mean Trump /s. Think about it why should she have empathy or compassion much less concern herself with how she is perceived by people she and her husband have looked down upon?

    Anyone who marries Trump knows what they are getting and especially Melania given that the first and second divorces played out in the press and books.

  • SCUBAsabre

    You nailed it! more than 1 thumbs up if I could. I tried to get one person I know to see this. Swing and a miss! This is the mother of a friend who literally was teary about Trump not getting respect and that “everyone” is preventing him from doing what he wants to do… the press is picking on him…. I was dumbfounded. But she was literally teary…. it was creepy.

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