Let’s face it: Last week was not a good one for Donald Trump.
The gold star drama, the spat with Rep. Fredrika Wilson of Florida, and everything else just kept the Trump Administration from focusing on anything even remotely related to policy, which isn’t that great, considering his administration really needs a policy win.
The topic that they would like to focus on is tax reform. Paul Ryan is doing everything within his power to keep it the topic of the present, despite pretty much no help from Senate leadership and a White House that seems to be putting out all the Twitter-based fires it can handle while also keeping an eye on the ever-present threat of a press conference fire.
All of this is because Trump cannot simply let a bad story die. He has to get the last word in.
Trump is, of course, in no danger of losing support from his base. They are going to stick with him through anything. The Republicans who are not enthusiastic supporters of the President, along with Republicans who remain such even though they despise their current President, are the ones who are going to be needed to push this agenda forward.
That’s going to get tougher as Trump continues to step on his own messaging and react to his own statements and the blowback they cause.
Normally, political observers can and do note that an administration is capable of doing multiple things at once. We may not agree with everything the Bush Administration did, but they did take on multiple initiatives. We definitely did not agree with the Obama Administration, but he too could focus on more than one thing.
Trump simply cannot do more than one thing at once. He is the definition of the walk-and-chew-gum president. He cannot switch from the gold star debacle to tax reform and back, much less focus on touting the good things members of his administration are accomplishing.
Has he once praised Betsy DeVos for rolling back the guidance on kangaroo courts at colleges and universities? Has he ever complimented the way Nikki Haley has dealt with United Nations? Has he given any credit at all to Scott Pruitt’s initiatives?
If he has, it was in a one-time tweet and never discussed again. Obama would take credit for anything that advanced his agenda because he knew that, in order to build any sort of legacy, he had to keep the good things out front and let the bad things stay hidden behind them. Trump? Not so much.
Trump is the kind of guy who will beat the horse to death, and then use the glue from the pummelled pony to piece together a series of tweets that would keep the dead issue alive even longer. He cannot force himself to let go, and that is why the “fake news media” is able to focus for so long on anything he screws up.
Trump simply cannot stay out of his own way. He is his own perpetual negative news cycle. The White House can’t move forward on anything until he understands this and works to change it.