Trump lets his aides sweat the details on health careWe have a president of the United States who desperately wants a bill to pass, and he's not just any president, he's one who's regarded by nearly all his voters as the shrewdest dealmaker on the planet, and certainly the best dealmaker who's ever been president. And it's not just voters who feel that way:
President Donald Trump’s aides spent the weekend fretting over the health care law, huddling in a room at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort for hours, wrangling with members of Congress on the phone, flying conservatives to the Florida retreat and making final deals with House leadership in hopes of getting the bill passed.
But while Republicans are looking for Trump to close the deal on replacing Obamacare ... the commander in chief, according to several aides and advisers, seems more interested in discussing other things.
He told associates he wished he hadn’t listened to White House lawyers and instead kept fighting for his original executive order blocking refugees and visa-holders from majority-Muslim countries from entering the U.S., rather than introducing a second, weaker version....
He asked a number of visitors over the weekend what they thought of Neil Gorsuch, his Supreme Court nominee. He asked others about North Korea.
And he complained about leaks coming from inside the federal government, saying they were the bigger story than his recent claims about being wiretapped by former President Barack Obama at Trump Tower....
Members of Speaker Paul Ryan’s team, trying to appeal to Trump’s ego and deal-making sensibilities, have begun calling him the “closer” or the "ultimate closer.”But he's not doing any of the closing. He's not doing any of the dealmaking at all. The world's greatest dealmaker is leaving the making of deals to others.
You and I understand this: Trump is lazy, and he doesn't make the slightest effort to understand any complicated issue in detail. He's not making deals because he can't -- he's never bothered to develop a grasp of ordinary politics and he's never bothered to absorb the details of the health care bill he's championing. But his voters -- and his party-mates -- think this is his strong suit. It's a major reason why his voters voted for him: They thought he entered into every negotiation with a sharper understanding of the situation than everyone else and an unmatched, uncanny ability to get others to agree to what he wants.
It's not just that he's not as great as he says he is. When it comes to legislation, he utterly lacks the ability to do deals. He's the worst dealmaker who's ever been president, because he won't -- and -- can't do it at all.
And yet whatever happens with the bill, his fans will continue to believe that he's almost supernaturally gifted in this area. I don't know when, if ever, they'll realize he's a fraud.