January 26, 2019


Inside the White House, aides and advisers are despondent over a wasted month (Kevin Liptak, Dana Bash and Jim Acosta, 1/26/19, CNN)

Instead of emerging victorious, many of Trump's allies are walking away from a record-breaking government shutdown feeling outplayed, not least by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The President is now more unpopular than he was before the shutdown began, sacked with blame for the 35-day lapse in funding.

Friday's announcement was an extraordinary comedown that left many in the White House and those who support Trump marveling at the futility of the preceding four weeks of brinkmanship. In the eyes of some aides and outside advisers, an entire fruitless month has passed that cannot be recouped, a waste of the most valuable asset a White House has: the President's attention and time. [...]

Acknowledging a new political reality with Pelosi in charge, one adviser said the only way forward for Trump is "compromise," with little room for the no-holds-barred approach favored by advisers like Stephen Miller, the immigration hardliner.

"Today is not a cave but a grave for Stephen Miller policies," the adviser said, acknowledging it's not clear at all that Trump is ready to make that kind of course correction. [...]

Two people who talk to Trump regularly said that over the past week or so the President had been in a very sour mood amid the shutdown episode -- a state of mind that only worsened as Friday approached and he realized he was losing the fight. Already a mercurial boss, Trump has lashed out at aides he believes bear some responsibility for the morass.

His aides and advisers are frustrated too, and disappointed over the way Trump boxed himself in during a fateful Oval Office meeting in December, where, with cameras rolling, Trump told Pelosi and Schumer that he would proudly shut the government down over the border wall. He later sought to shirk responsibility, but his words were on tape. And he began steadily being outmaneuvered by Democrats, particularly Pelosi, whose ploy to deprive Trump of a State of the Union address dealt a preliminary blow this week.

For Trump, the border wall -- which began as a rhetorical device at his campaign rallies -- has become something much larger, an extension of himself so personal that he can't let it go.

Posted by at January 26, 2019 5:19 PM


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