the national interest

It’s Been a Banner Day for Donald Trump

Who knew being president would be so hard? Photo: Alexander Shcherbak/TASS

The flurry of news from Washington merits a quick review of Your Government at Work. In the Senate, Republicans learned their tax cut was projected to fall short of paying for itself through growth by a wee $1 trillion, causing the party to frantically scramble to placate various holdouts, some of whom want the plan to be more generous, and others of whom want the opposite. They are basically rewriting their plan on bar napkins, and will probably pass something, but in their haste will create intended and unintended loopholes while exposing their members to devastating attack ads.

That’s the part of the government that’s operating relatively well. Enacting tax cuts for the rich is the one thing Republicans can manage to do with a modicum of efficiency. Meanwhile:

Donald Trump has been telling people he thinks a government shutdown would help him and would like to have one. Trump has “told several people he would put the blame on Democrats,” reports the Washington Post. It is generally difficult for the Republican Party, which has a deep-rooted anti-government brand, to convince the public that the Democratic Party, which has a deep-rooted pro-government brand, is responsible for shutting down the government. It is especially difficult when there are news articles describing the president plotting a government shutdown, and when the president has tweeted his desire for a shutdown to happen:

Also, Trump is reportedly planning to replace his secretary of State not via a normal firing but through “public shaming,” according to CNN. The shaming process involves a series of leaks about Trump’s lack of confidence in Tillerson, planning for his successor, and so on. For whatever reason, Trump is reluctant to actually fire people, even though this is the single thing he is best known for. An old Seinfeld episode revolved around George Costanza’s boss not wanting to fire him, but instead trying to force him to quit through an escalating series of humiliations. Trump seems to be Costanza’ing his secretary of State. Good luck hiring new Cabinet members!

Oh, and former national security adviser Michael Flynn has pleaded guilty to a minor offense, which implies he has made a deal with Robert Mueller.

It’s Been a Banner Day for Donald Trump