Axios’ morning email thingie tells us that the way to Hair Füror’s heart is through
the ribcage, er, appealing to his ego:
Getting a cranky, stubborn President Trump to belatedly sign the COVID relief bill, after unemployment benefits had already lapsed, was like being a hostage negotiator, or defusing a bomb.
- The deal was closed on a Sunday afternoon phone call with Trump, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.
- “This is good,” Trump finally said, an official familiar with the call told me. “I should sign this.”
How it happened: Over many days, Mnuchin and McCarthy — aided by Sen. Lindsey Graham, who golfed with Trump in West Palm Beach on Friday — indulged the president’s rants, told him there was great stuff in the bill, and gave him “wins” he could announce, even though they didn’t change the bill.
- Playing to his vanity, they invoked his legacy and reminded him he didn’t want to hurt people.
Putin could have told them this.
THAT’S IT? President DONALD TRUMP made all this noise about the Covid relief and government funding bill only to sign it and get nothing in return?
TRUMP got taken to the cleaners.
WHAT A BIZARRE, embarrassing episode for the president. He opposed a bill his administration negotiated. He had no discernible strategy and no hand to play — and it showed. He folded, and got nothing besides a few days of attention and chaos. People waiting for aid got a few days of frightening uncertainty.
ZIP. ZERO. ZILCH. If he was going to give up this easy, he should’ve just kept quiet and signed the bill. It would’ve been less embarrassing.
IN A STATEMENT, TRUMP saidCongress will reviewSection 230, the statute governing social media companies? Pretty sure they’ve been reviewing it for a while. A “redlined” bill? Huh? He’ll never get the spending rescissions he’s asking for — like, zero chance, so don’t focus on this. They will review voter fraud? Sure thing, boss. And the Senate will begin the process of voting on $2,000 checks? Great. He will split the Republican Party on the way out the door. (Will it get 60 votes? Will senators even show up for this?) In his Sunday evening statement, Senate Majority Leader MITCH MCCONNELL didn’t even mention anything that TRUMP got in return for signing this bill.
THIS IS PROBABLY THE MOST FITTING coda to TRUMP’S presidency, and a neat encapsulation of his relationship with Congress. He never cared to understand the place and was disengaged from its work.
THEY’LL BE LAUGHING — er, scratching their heads — at your genius about this one for a while, Mr. President.
He’s as smart as he looks, boys.