Under siege, Trump propels the government and markets into crisis

Under siege, Trump propels the government and markets into crisis, by Philip Rucker at the WaPo.

The president’s decisions and conduct have led to a fracturing of Trump’s coalition. Hawks condemned his sudden decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. Conservatives called him a “gutless president” and questioned whether he would ever build a wall. Political friends began privately questioning whether Trump needed to be reined in.

After campaigning on shrinking America’s footprint in overseas wars, Trump abruptly declared Wednesday that he was withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria, a move Mattis and other advisers counseled against. And officials said Thursday that Trump is preparing to send thousands of troops home from Afghanistan, as well.

The president also issued an ultimatum to Congress to fund construction of his promised U.S.-Mexico border wall, a move poised to result in a government shutdown just before Christmas. Trump and his aides had signaled tacit support for a short-term spending compromise that would avert the shutdown, but the president abruptly changed course after absorbing a deluge of criticism from some of his most high-profile loyalists. …

Trump has been isolated in bunker mode in recent weeks as political and personal crises mount, according to interviews with 27 current and former White House officials, Republican lawmakers, and outside advisers to the president, some of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to offer candid assessments. …

On Thursday, as criticism over his capitulation on the wall grew louder by the hour, Trump complained to friends and aides that he felt politically shackled. He had no plan but was spoiling for a fight. By midday, the president picked one.

“I’ve made my position very clear: Any measure that funds the government must include border security. Has to,” Trump said Thursday. He added that he had “no choice” but to act. …

Marc Short, Trump’s former White House legislative affairs director, said Trump “feels he made a promise to voters that he would build the wall. There is a realization that with Congress changing hands, that the challenge of getting funding for the wall only gets larger.”

Democracy in action. Trump was elected as the populist from outside the usual political class, to drain the swamp and stop the immediate threats to the American people from the globalists — from being replaced by third world immigrants, from Islam, and from losing jobs to China. The crowds would chant, “Build the wall.” Trump wavered from his job (has he been too long in Washington?), but seems to be back on track today.