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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Weak President

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's character.

Matt Glassman repeats Neustadt's dictum that presidential power is the power to persuade:
And, in this sense, Trump just looks supremely weak in DC. He can’t get the GOP to do anything legislatively that is on his agenda but not theirs. He constantly complains about his own cabinet officials, who appear to ignore him regularly, but is too boxed in politically to fire them. Private sector “allies” loudly walk away from him the minute he crosses them. And he can’t even stop the record-setting departures and the legendary-level leaks at his own White House, where power-hungry staffers engage in endless intrigue, precisely because they know it is so easy to manipulate the president if you can get the face time.
In the last few weeks, things seem to be getting worse for Trump. In response to Trump’s less-than-emphatic denunciation of MBS and the Saudis over the Khashoggi murder, the Senate invoked the War Powers Resolution for the first time ever, directing Trump to end U.S. involvement in Yemen. GOP Senators have completely ignored Trump on his central domestic policy issue, the border wall, instead preferring to craft their own deal with the Democrats, even as Trump escalates the issue and backs himself into a corner. Numerous GOP Senators went apoplectic in response to Trump’s announcement about leaving Syria. And in response to the Mattis resignation, Majority Leader McConnell did not mince words about his dissatisfaction.