When you’re a political amateur, no amount of deal-making ability one had (or claims to have had) in business can prepare a person for dealing with seasoned politicians. Donald Trump is learning that lesson.
Make no mistake. Donald Trump got played like a grand piano by the political duo of Salieri Schumer and Pelosi The Great.
Over the last several days I have sat back and watched people who are either hardcore Trump supporters or the people I called the New Trumpers — individuals who backed other candidates but voted for Trump tentatively and now defend him to the core no matter what he does — explain several different scenarios for why Trump made the debt ceiling “deal” he did with Schumer and Pelosi.
- He had to do it because the Ryan and McConnell wouldn’t have gotten it done. Get what done? These words may sound familiar, but Trump gave Pelosi and Schumer exactly what they wanted. Trump didn’t even try to negotiate on a longer term for the debt ceiling. Steven Mnuchin and Paul Ryan wanted 18 months and said they’d settle for a year. No deal. Trump just went with what they want. Some deal-maker.
- Others have said, Trump needed some a “win, ” and he couldn’t rely on Ryan or McConnell as they haven’t delivered anything to Trump. Again, how is this their fault? Trump ran and won in part on the idea that he could make the deals others couldn’t. He bragged his business acumen would make the difference in negotiating trade deals, foreign policy and domestic policy with Congress.
- My favorite is the whitewashing of history and people saying Trump supporters simply wanted functional government again. Seriously? That is laughable. One of the main reasons people wanted Trump is because they said Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell as well as John Boehner before them, did nothing but cave to Obama. They only capitulated when the chips were down. They referred to Ryan and others as the “surrender caucus.” The bulk of the support for Donald Trump came from the “burn it down” contingent. Others believed Trump was the “fighter” while Paul Ryan was a p**sy who couldn’t take on the Democrats. The notion that people wanted kissy-face deals like the one Trump just gave to Pelosi and Schumer is revisionist history.
Naturally, it’s not as though people weren’t warned of what would happen. People say Trump is “transactional” and that he’ll make the best deal at that time. That’s only partially right. He’s going to make whatever deal makes him look good at the time. Reports say Trump was thrilled with the press coverage the deal was getting despite many conservatives saying it gave too much leverage to Pelosi and Schumer come December. The critics are right.
I’ve argued more times than I can count that Trump has no ideological core. He’s not a conservative. He is an opportunist.
Donald Trump just got a taste of “victory” and what it is like to earn some positive press coverage, despite throwing Republicans under the bus and dealing only with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. The “fake news” is just fine as long as they like him. Favorable press coverage and ratings will drive most decisions of the reality show host.
Don’t get mad that many of us were right about Trump. This is only the beginning.