The most popular bar game by far in D.C. these days is a rollicking contest enjoyed by Democrats, Republicans and agnostics alike. It’s called “What Was Trump Thinking?” and it’s played almost every day as politicos gather at local watering holes trying to sort out the meaning of the latest move by the administration.
Now this game has be going on for years, but never before with such gusto because … well, let’s just say some of the moves by this president are tailor-made for shouting, swearing, fist-swinging donnybrooks.
But leave it to Congress to spoil the fun. This week the Senate Intelligence Committee summoned the president’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions to play. “What was Trump thinking?” his interrogators wanted to know about Russia, about firing the FBI director, about Sessions himself. Democrats in particular were looking forward to this round.
Sessions, however, infuriated them — by dodging questions, by scorching them with abuse for suggesting he would do anything improper and by dragging the proceedings to an angry, muddled ending. The Dems, who went into the hearing hoping to score some points against Trump, came out acting like Sessions had thrown their checkerboard to the floor.
But they should not have been surprised. As much as this new administration may lack political experience, as much as President Trump may hurt his own game with unforced errors, Sessions is a different animal. He is an experienced old pro. He knows D.C. He knows the rules and how to walk along their edges when needed. He knows who has real muscle — and who does not.
And if the Dems, who currently are suffering a profound power deficit, think Sessions will turn on the guy who gave him the biggest opportunity of his life just because they asked him to … then they have no idea how D.C. games are played at all.