What Did and Didn’t Happen This Week

by Rich Lowry

–Trump didn’t collapse. His hold on the base isn’t threatened by this week. Axios noted a new poll that has data backing this up.

–Trump lost significant ground among elites. You might say, “Well, he got elected without elites.” True enough. But it helps at the margins to have corporate titans willing to play ball with you, and serious journals devoted to defending you. Trump threw this away.

–Trump forfeited the ability to rise above. After the last week, it’s going to be hard for him ever to hit unifying notes again with any credibility. This effectively denies him what should be part of the rhetorical repertoire of any president. Perhaps if he rises to the occasion after some significant event, he can hit reset here, but otherwise he’s limited himself.

–Trump eroded his capital with congressional Republicans. They don’t know what to do and don’t really have any place to go — the base is still with the president and they still want him to sign their agenda. But the last week makes it a little less likely that anything will happen legislatively on Capitol Hill. I wouldn’t expect to see any true breach between Trump and congressional Republicans until next year, when the legislative string has been played out and things either have happened or they haven’t. Then, both sides will have less reason to hide their true feelings — already beginning to show — and there could be an ugly divorce.
 

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