It's October and we are still getting this periodic story – via Politico, sourced by 10 WH sources – about how the staff scrambles frantically to delay and distract Trump from doing stupid things, as he stomps around enraged by something he saw on Fox & Friends:
But interviews with 10 current and former administration officials, advisers, longtime business associates and others close to Trump describe a process in which they try to install guardrails for a president who goes on gut feeling — and many days are spent managing the president, just as Corker said.
“You either had to just convince him something better was his idea or ignore what he said to do and hoped he forgot about it the next day,” said Barbara Res, a former executive in the Trump Organization.
Trump, several advisers and aides said, sometimes comes into the Oval Office worked into a lather from talking to friends or watching TV coverage in the morning. Sometimes, a side conversation with an aide like Stephen Miller on immigration or a TV host like Sean Hannity would set him off.
Then, staffers would step in to avert a rash decision by calming him down. At times, new information would be shared, like charts on how farmers might feel about ending NAFTA — or how his base might react negatively to an idea, like the verbal deal he struck with Democrats on immigration last month.
In the first stretches of the administration, aides would ask outside figures to intervene with Trump.
None of this is promising. But, although there is a lot of time to go, one promising thing I saw today is that Trump's approval rating among Republicans has dropped from 80% in March to 67% today. It's that number – the Republican number – that matters (and the Independent number tends to trail even lower). The lower enthusiasm is very important for mid-term elections. But it also is a small glimmer of hope. It's depressing as all hell to see Trump getting 90%, 80% approval from Republican voters because Republican voters are the true threat. 67% approval is already starting to descend to dangerously sane levels.
Without being too corny, to me a President falling into the 60's approval rating among his own party is like a boxer who tumbles hurt into the ropes. The boxer might (and often does) regroup but he is in a perilous state where one shot can really send him tumbling, never to recover. Today, you have to imagine Trump leaning back, covering up with gloves held high, but – amazingly – he is the only one punching himself.
There is one narrative that I hope prevails at the end of the day. As occurred over and over in Trump's life, he is about to blow a big inheritance. He is skating and stumbling on an economy and legacy bequeathed by Obama. Trump has no achievements and has confronted no real crisis himself. As certain point, his inheritance from Obama is going to run out . . . At some point, he is gong to have show results, or declare bankruptcy.
I’m not sure of the answer, but either way, this has to come to head. As I ask in the title: how much longer can this last?