The loneliest president

Michael Kruse writes: “ISOLATED?” read the subject line.

“Friend,” Donald Trump wrote recently to supporters in a fundraising email. “The fake news keeps saying, ‘President Trump is isolated.’ … They say I’m isolated by lobbyists, corporations, grandstanding politicians, and Hollywood. GOOD! I don’t want them,” he fumed, employing italics for emphasis.

Sent on August 28, two days after Hurricane Harvey inundated Houston, Trump’s defiant appeal acknowledged the mounting perception that nearly eight months into his first term—and in the aftermath of his racially divisive response to the violence in Charlottesville—he’s never been politically more lonely. He’s at odds with Congress—including leaders and members of his own party—and his deal-making with Democrats is angering some of his most ardent conservative supporters. He’s been abandoned and censured by art leaders, business leaders and world leaders. His Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida is bleeding bookings. And he’s losing favored aides due to the actions of his own chief of staff, General John Kelly, who restricts access to the president with the diligence of a border guard. Last week, the New York Times described Trump as a “solitary cowboy,” reminding readers he once called himself “the Lone Ranger.”

His critics might see his growing isolation as a product of his political inexperience—an aversion to the norms of the legislative process, a penchant for topsy-turvy management. But as unprecedented as this might be in the annals of the West Wing, it’s merely a continuation of a lifelong pattern of behavior for Trump. Take away the Pennsylvania Avenue address, the never-ending list of domestic and international crises, and the couldn’t-be-higher geopolitical stakes—and this looks very much like … Trump throughout his entire existence. Isolated is how he’s always operated. [Continue reading…]

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