President Trump broke his silence tonight on his party’s much-maligned tax reform effort in congress.
Republicans are faced with defections from within their own ranks, and blistering assessments from the CBO and other groups who have evaluated the various GOP plans and initiatives coming out of the House and the Senate. After their failed effort to kill Obamacare, and their failure overall to advance any meaningful legislation to the president’s desk, they’re desperate for a win, and so is the White House.
But President Trump has been an unreliable advocate for congressional Republicans during these failed legislative pushes. Unlike past presidents, who aligned their messaging with legislation their party was trying to advance, and stayed on message until bills were passed, Trump aligns his messaging with no one, and he couldn’t stay on message if his life depended on it.
He’s even proven unable to align his own messaging to itself, with his tweets and his interviews seeming to have minds of their own, straying more often than not from whatever the White House message of the week was supposed to be. And instead of promoting legislation in the news, members of his press corps spend most of their time repairing the self-inflicted damage Trump regularly inflicts on himself.
Trump returned from his five-country trip through Asia Tuesday, and spent his first hours back tweeting about how successful he says his trip was, attacking the media, and defending his cozy relationship with Vladimir Putin. He even found time to demand a public show of appreciation from the three American college kids who just returned home from China after he asked Chinese President Xi to look into their shoplifting case.
Only now, a full 24 hours after returning from Asia, has he found time to tweet about the Republican tax reform push – ostensibly their highest priority for this entire congressional term – and he still managed to turn that into a petty attack on Democrats.
Why are Democrats fighting massive tax cuts for the middle class and business (jobs)? The reason: Obstruction and Delay!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 16, 2017
The president is proving yet again that he’s a mixed blessing at best for Republicans desperate to pass meaningful legislation – and a liability at worst.