If someone asked me to distill the essential message of Donald Trump in the long, wild months leading up to his election it would be: You’re all wrong. Congress. The courts. The bureaucrats. Activists and analysts. The media. Especially the media. You don’t understand the American public. You have no idea how to run a government. You are lost in a swamp crawling with cronies, favors and illicit insider deals – which you have no desire to leave.
I don’t say this to suggest his critique of the fetid culture of DC is inherently incorrect. A great many voters think he nailed it. But I will say it’s no way to make friends…and right now, he could dearly use a few.
From his legislative agenda, to the drawn-out process of assembling a complete White House team, to the Russian investigations, President Trump is a man stuck in a mire. He desperately needs help to pull his administration forward – into legislative success, out of legal scrutiny – but fewer and fewer seem willing to even raise a torch to light the way, let alone haul him from the muck.
Why? Just think about it. When he effectively declared himself the beacon of wisdom on how to resurrect the economy, stop terrorism, reform healthcare, promote ethics, rewrite immigration law and “drain the swamp” of government, he alienated a great many of the political pros who – for better or worse – keep the wheels turning around here. He treated experienced Democrats, independents and Republicans alike as if they were incompetent, unprincipled or cowardly – toadies to the status quo. And many began seething.
So now when the president needs a champion for his budget, a defender for his executive fiats, or even cheerleaders for his weekly assaults on all opponents foreign and domestic, you’ll largely notice the sound of crickets. And yet, crickets might be a blessing, because make no mistake: This president is in real danger of being pulled under by the quicksand of low approval ratings, legislative indifference, investigative scrutiny and political isolation. And after the way he’s treated everyone else in the ”swamp” – many of whom have worked years on improving government and addressing those very issues he rails against – few hands are reaching out to help him.