The beginning of the end of the Trump presidency came and went a long time ago. I have never wavered from my oft-stated convictions that (a) Trump will not finish out his term, and (b), the end will be triggered by a presidential meltdown that forces the Vichy Republicans in Washington to mount an insurrection — if only to save their own asses, not the country. This week was a big step toward that endgame, and surely one of the most remarkable weeks in American history.
So writes Frank Rich, a writer for New York Magazine and a former columnist for the New York Times.
Those “Vichy Republicans,” and they include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and lame-duck House Speaker Paul Ryan, took a shiv in the back from Donald J. Trump.
They thought they had a deal to keep the government running. The Senate voted unanimously to send a spending bill to the House — but with no money to build that damn wall along our southern border.
The House got its hands on it. Right wing radio talkers got the ear of the president and told him he was betraying that shrinking base of his base by not demanding money for the wall. Trump called Ryan to the White House and told he had changed his mind, that he wouldn’t sign the bill.
The government has been shut down. Yes, it’s a partial shutdown. However, it still affects hundreds of thousands of federal employees . . . at Christmas!
Is this the moment that the GOP finally — finally! — will stand up to this goofball president?
Meanwhile, the president’s chaos pattern escalated with the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis, who quit over severe disagreements about the way the president develops policy statements. By that I refer to the Twitter torrents that announce policies such as, oh, the withdrawal of about 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria. There was no consultation with allies, with the Pentagon, the State Department, the CIA, the DNI. Trump did it all by himself.
That did it for Mattis. He has quit and will walk away with his reputation intact.
Meanwhile, the federal government will stagger along. The president will continue to operate in a chaotic atmosphere.
How much longer will Trump’s supposed GOP allies tolerate it?
I will leave you with this from Rich’s commentary: The Mattis resignation is huge. It’s not that he was the last “adult in the room” but that as a retired military man and a secretary of Defense with access to both foreign intelligence and the inner workings of the White House, he knows treason when he sees it.