During the election the Mexicans were breaking Donald Trump pinatas into smithereens, which must have been quite cathartic. This week Trump broke the back of his own administration. Trump was absolutely not prepared for a week like he just had and the magic spell is now broken. His boorishness has garnered international censure before but the sheer cruelty of the images from the southern border this week was something else altogether. Rick Wilson, Daily Beast:
This was the worst week of Trump’s administration, by far. Letting Trump be Trump has always been a political disaster, and this week was vivid proof. There’s no adult supervision, just impulse, instinct, and hindbrain reflex. Impotent Chief of Staff John Kelly has abdicated even vague attempts to constrain this president. Sarah Sanders is so checked out she may as well not show up for press briefings. Jeff Sessions’ upcoming book on the Biblical basis for holding kids in cages promises to be riveting reading. The White House is rife with reports of staffers simply hanging on for dear life as a rogue president follows his astoundingly sub-par political and managerial instincts into the ditch. […]
In a week of brutal and evident human suffering, the wall-to-wall media coverage meant the political costs of this policy rose and rose, and Trump’s defeat was inevitable from the start. When Trump signed the executive order reversing his policy on Wednesday, it was an epic political defeat for his presidency, his staff, his congressional defenders, and his media cheerleaders.
By Thursday the scope of his defeat was evident. Beaten to a political pulp, Trump found even Republican stalwarts disowning him and his policy. The otherwise obedient Gimp Caucus has members going on the record to decry the heartlessness of separating children from their parents. Congress is in chaos, flailing to pass something, anything to mitigate the damage. Even the Trumpiest Trumpers broke. In Florida, Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis, a man who emulates Trump so strictly I expect him to sport a blond wig, ran like a scalded dog.
Now, his administration has added to its catalog of calamitous failures, his Department of Homeland Security director is politically radioactive, and as hard as it is to imagine, his government looks even more inept, chaotic, malicious, and deceptive than his White House crew. Whipsawed between holding on to his image as the hardest of the immigration hardliners and the terrible, horrible, indelible images, Trump has had a spectacularly awful week.
The dust has by no means settled on the immigration issue. As a matter of fact, things have gotten more complicated since the signing of the executive order, meaning that children and parents will be detained together, for periods of time which have not been specified as of today. It looks at this point to be a political time bomb.
It will be interesting to see if Sarah Huckabee Sanders even bothers to show up for work Monday. If she doesn’t, it will be the fifth day in a row where there has not been a White House press briefing. Plus, she can’t get Kirstjen Nielsen to explain why she was thrown out of a Virginia restaurant or why her father went off his noodle Saturday morning and tweeted a racist meme about Nancy Pelosi.
The press corps might as well bring playing cards and poker chips and get up a game. My prediction is that they’re going to get even less from the White House than usual.