Master planner or impulsive egoist? “Trump has sprung surprises on his allies with gusto”
Developments on Day 233 of the Trump Administration:
“Trump Betrays Everyone”
Donald Trump’s sudden shift to support a Democratic proposal, lifting the debt ceiling and providing funding for the Federal Government until December 15, continues to baffle mainstream media.
On Wednesday, Trump abruptly rebuffed Republican Congressional leaders, who were also in the White House meeting, and backed Senate and House Minority Leaders Charles Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. He also stepped back from his Administration’s Tuesday suspension of the “Dreamers” program for young undocumented immigrants, tweeting — on Pelosi’s suggestion — to reassure the almost 800,000 beneficiaries who are at risk of deportation.
Most Trump coverage has been suspended because of the impending landfall of Hurricane Irma in Florida, but both The Washington Post and The New York Times have long articles trying to put the “new” Trump into a wider context.
The Post goes for “unpredictable ally”:
The move should come as no surprise to students of Trump’s long history of broken alliances and agreements. In business, his personal life, his campaign and now his presidency, Trump has sprung surprises on his allies with gusto. His dealings are frequently defined by freewheeling spontaneity, impulsive decisions and a desire to keep everyone guessing — especially those who assume they can control him.
Republican strategist Rick Wilson, a critic of Trump, asserts, “[He] betrays everyone: wives, business associates, contractors, bankers and now, the leaders of the House and Senate in his own party. They can’t explain this away as [a] 15-dimensional Trump chess game. It’s a dishonest person behaving according to his long-established pattern.”
But The New York Times prefers to see a Trump plan rather than dishonesty. Portraying him as a “Lone Ranger”, it makes the sweeping declaration that the Wednesday shift was far more than an impulse: “Mr. Trump has shown in the nearly eight months in office that he is, in many ways, the first independent to hold the Presidency since the advent of the current two-party system around the time of the Civil War.
Some analysts quickly saw the Times’ portrayal as an attempt to render the twists and turns — “Trump adjusts to the moment, and his temporary alignment with Democrats could easily unravel tomorrow” — as an anodyne poltiical phenomenon rather than the actions of a man with suspect character, ethically-questionable business interests, and deeply-held “extremist” beliefs.
Trump was never going to pivot. His goal was always to pivot the US to him, to make extremist views mainstream. NYT aids him in this agenda.
— Sarah Kendzior (@sarahkendzior) September 9, 2017
Trump isn't an independent. He's the racist wing of the GOP winning the internal struggle against the anti-government wing. https://t.co/Y3SZNSMdcn
— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) September 9, 2017
But for now the White House is embracing the mainstream portrayals, hoping to put pressure on the GOP Congressional leaders — particularly Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan — whom they blame for the Administration’s inability to pass a single major piece of legislation in almost eight months.
In some ways, White House officials said, Trump is as comfortable working with Democrats to achieve policy goals — complete with the sheen of bipartisan luster — as he is with Republicans. Though he did not partner with Democrats to spite McConnell and Ryan, aides said, he has long felt frustrated with them for what he perceives as their inability to help shepherd his agenda through Congress, most notably their stalled efforts to undo former president Barack Obama’s signature health-care law.