January 10th - CNN
(CNN)Something has changed. President Donald Trump's headline-hungry governing style has never lacked for drama, but there's a new sense of aimlessness lately in Trump's frenetic search for a crisis, his efforts to control the headlines, distract from other events, and keep his base satisfied that he is the muscular fighter who will stop at nothing to achieve his goals.
In reality, the Trump administration is a vortex of incoherence.
In the final weeks of 2018, Trump suddenly revived his promise to build a wall with all the concentrated determination of a man fleeing a posse. The promise was never quite dead (the second stanza of the "Build the Wall" campaign chant, the part about Mexico paying, has faded, drowned by the debunking of nonsensical claims) but two years into the Trump administration, the urgency of building a wall exploded onto the scene only after tangible threats to Trump looked imminent.
After winning control of the House of Representatives, Democrats prepared to launch real investigations into the endless areas of possible corruption and malfeasance in the administration, a development that coincidentally occurred just as the probe into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia started gushing new damning revelations, with the Mueller investigation appearing to zero in on its target.
Trump is flailing badly on foreign and domestic policy. At home, some of his allies are worried, and abroad there is also concern.
At home, the government shutdown over a phony crisis at the border has created a very real crisis for hundreds of thousands of Americans, not only the more than 800,000 federal workers at risk of going without a paycheck, or the more than 420,000 who are -- incredibly -- required to work without pay, but also the millions more who depend on spending by all of those people.
Trump's strategy seems baffling because it is so unnecessarily harmful to individuals, to the country, and even to Republicans in Congress. Already some Republican senators have parted ways with him. Sen. Lisa Murkowski has called for an end to the shutdown. Sen. Susan Collins said she's looking for a compromise, something Trump histrionically signaled he has no interest in when he walked out of a meeting with Democratic leaders. Both Murkowski and Collins were instrumental to ending the 2013 shutdown, conferring with colleagues across the aisle when other Republicans wouldn't. ...
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