President Trump’s temper tantrums are coming at an accelerating pace
As the curator of the Trump-as-toddler Twitter thread, I was dubious that John F. Kelly would be able to make President Trump act like a big boy while he was in power. But after Stephen K. Bannon was no longer inside the White House to rile up the president, the hard-working staff here at Spoiler Alerts did start to wonder whether some degree of normality could be achieved.
The past week definitively revealed the mirage of a maturing president. The first thing that set off the president was the spectacle of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson trying to swat down well-sourced stories that he had called Trump a “f***ing moron.” Alas, Dexter Filkins’s New Yorker profile of Tillerson just made both the secretary of state and the president look worse.
Then this weekend the floodgates opened after the president went after Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) on Twitter. Which led to this:
It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift this morning.
— Senator Bob Corker (@SenBobCorker) October 8, 2017
Senator Bob Corker, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, charged in an interview on Sunday that President Trump was treating his office like “a reality show,” with reckless threats toward other countries that could set the nation “on the path to World War III.”….
All but inviting his colleagues to join him in speaking out about the president, Mr. Corker said his concerns about Mr. Trump were shared by nearly every Senate Republican.
“Look, except for a few people, the vast majority of our caucus understands what we’re dealing with here,” he said, adding that “of course they understand the volatility that we’re dealing with and the tremendous amount of work that it takes by people around him to keep him in the middle of the road.”
The aftershocks of Corker’s claim about the vast majority of other Republicans feeling the way he did probably will be felt for as long as reporters can ask other members of Congress. But it also triggered a raft of stories about how other key political actors have had a similar reaction to the president.
For example, there’s the diplomatic corps, as my Washington Post colleagues Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe report:
After nearly nine months of the Trump administration, many of America’s closest allies have concluded that a hoped-for “learning curve” they thought would make President Trump a reliable partner is not going to happen.
“The idea that he would inform himself, and things would change, that is no longer operative,” said a top diplomat here.
Instead, they see an administration in which lines of authority and decision-making are unclear, where tweets become policy and hard-won international accords on trade and climate are discarded. The result has been a special kind of challenge for those whose jobs are to advocate for their countries and explain the president and his unconventional ways at home.
Senior diplomats and officials from nearly a dozen countries in Europe, Latin America and Asia expressed a remarkable coincidence of views in interviews over the past several weeks. Asked to describe their thoughts about and relations with the president and his team as the end of Trump’s first year approaches, many described a whirlwind journey beginning with tentative optimism, followed by alarm and finally reaching acceptance that the situation is unlikely to improve.