Let's kick back and watch the red-on-red warfare:
President Trump lashed out on Wednesday at the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, who suggested this week that the president harbored “excessive expectations” about the pace of congressional progress.
“Senator Mitch McConnell said I had ‘excessive expectations,’ but I don’t think so,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon, as he and lawmakers took time away from Washington during the August recess. “After 7 years of hearing Repeal & Replace, why not done?”
This was followed by another tweet written by the vacationing Trump:
Trump doesn't seem to believe that a president and his aides are supposed to help craft legislation. He wrote this tweet as if he was ordering takeout.
In The Weekly Standard, Michael Warren contends that all this is a sign Trump wants to leave the GOP:
President Donald Trump is inching closer to abandoning the Republican party....
Trump has been building the case against his fellow Republicans for some time, but it came to a head late last month as Obamacare repeal began its path in the Senate. “Republicans in the Senate will NEVER win if they don’t go to a 51 vote majority NOW. They look like fools and are just wasting time,” he tweeted on July 29. “If the Senate Democrats ever got the chance, they would switch to a 51 majority vote in first minute. They are laughing at R’s. MAKE CHANGE!” Then, a few days later, he blamed the “all-time & very dangerous low” relations with Russia on Congress, “the same people that can’t even give us HCare!”
Trump’s short-term target was the filibuster and its most important defender, Mitch McConnell. But the beginnings of the broader argument against the GOP are all right there, in 140 characters at a time. Republicans are fools, they’re impotent, and everyone’s laughing at them.
But a D.C. insider quoted in The Washington Post makes the obvious point that this is Trump we're talking about, so we shouldn't be imagining there's a well-crafted plan:
“Discerning a particular strategy or goal from these tweets is hard,” said Doug Heye, a Republican consultant and former Capitol Hill staffer. “It just doesn’t help enact any part of his agenda, and it sends a further troubling sign to Capitol Hill Republicans already wary of the White House.”
What Trump is doing is what he does in his White House, and possibly what he did in his business: He's failing to do any hard work himself, he's berating anyone who doesn't get done what he wants accomplished, and he doesn't care how much chaos this generates as long as the result is that he's surrounded by people who promise to do whatever he demands without ever annoying him. (Nearly everyone annoys him eventually, if only because it's often literally impossible to do what he wants, especially when he won't lift a finger to help. So the cycle never ends.)
Hey, Mitch, you wanted this guy to be president? Reap the whirlwind.
The odd thing about that Weekly Standard story is that the latter half essentially contradicts the first half. Warren says that Trump is getting ready to abandon the GOP -- but the GOP is becoming Trumpier:
All of this is complicated by the fact that the unelected party infrastructure is aligning itself more with Trump. The Republican National Committee chair, Ronna Romney McDaniel, has taken to chastising elected Republicans critical of Trump, such as Jeff Flake, by pointing to those GOP candidates who lost in 2016 after publicly distancing themselves from the presidential nominee. “There is a cautionary tale there because voters want you to support the president in his agenda,” McDaniel said this week. And McDaniel’s latest hire, as national spokesperson for the RNC? Former CNN contributor and reliably pro-Trump talking head Kayleigh McEnany.
Speaking of the continued Trumpification of the GOP infrastructure, it’s worth noting that a PAC supporting Jeff Flake’s rival in next year’s Arizona Senate GOP primary just received a big donation from the conservative, and increasingly pro-Trump, donor Robert Mercer.
Trump isn't leaving the GOP -- he and his allies are trying to purge or marginalize people who've displeased Trump, including McConnell. The goal isn't to break free of the party -- it's to prevent Trump from being annoyed. The party will become more Trump-like, and Trump won't leave -- he'll just compel others to leave.
Crossposted at No More Mr. Nice Blog