President Donald Trump’s last-minute push to rack up some achievements to show for his first 100 days in office sent some of his closest aides reeling and further alienated the president from leaders within his own party, said Politico on Saturday.
“The last-minute moves have frustrated some of Trump’s allies, caused a scramble across his government and proved once again that decisions are made by one man on his whims — and often with an eye to his media coverage,” wrote Josh Dawsey, Tara Palmeri and Ben White.
Trump’s vague, hastily-written tax plan and his doomed push for a second “Trumpcare” vote this week were both poorly-planned, desperate attempts, insiders say, to have something to boast about in addition to the appointment of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
Eight days ago, when Trump announced that his tax plan was nearly complete, no one was more surprised than chief economic adviser Gary Cohn.
“Not a single word of a plan was on paper, several administration officials said, and Treasury officials worked all weekend to draft a one-page summary of his principles with a news conference the president demanding the action,” Politico reported.
“This was all about doing something in the first 100 days and really it’s doing the process backwards,” said one unnamed official.
Trump’s call for a second healthcare reform vote in the House of Representatives came as a total surprise to Congress. Speaker of the House Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) was traveling in Europe when the news broke. Neither he nor the leaders of key Congressional committees had any warning that the White House would be mounting the initiative this week.
“It was totally insane,” one senior GOP aide told Politico. “It made no sense. There was no reason to say a vote was happening this week.”
Sources in Congress say that former RNC head Reince Priebus was furiously trying to whip up votes earlier in the week on the effort to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, but that House members balked, particularly when the administration put forth the idea of holding the vote on Saturday, a day House members typically have off.
The abruptly announced and then just as abruptly withdrawn decision to leave NAFTA — which came as a complete shock to the nations involved, including officials within Trump’s administration — was yet another failed attempt on Trump’s part to put some points on the board for his term so far.
“The looming 100-day marker has sent the White House into overdrive this week. Senior administration officials — chief of staff Reince Priebus, son-in-law Jared Kushner, legislative affairs head Marc Short, chief strategist Steve Bannon and Cohn — have held late-night sessions with reporters to sell the 100 days,” said Politico. “Trump repeatedly asked aides for ideas with the marker in mind and has demanded plans for the event and lists of his accomplishments to highlight every single day of the week, administration officials said.”
It appears to have been largely for naught, as Pres. Trump prepares to hold a campaign-style rally in Harrisburg, PA on Saturday, he will have little to tout aside from the Gorsuch nomination.
One unnamed White House official told Politico, “I can’t wait for the 100-day sh*t to be over.”