Donald Trump may be experiencing the most difficult week of his presidency and is reacting by doubling-down again and again, according to a new report by the Wall Street Journal.
Trump is frustrated by being told he can't be seen as too close to the Russian dictator who likely helped install him in office, being told he can't criticize the Federal Reserve and that he can't slam the intelligence agencies which have told the American people of Russia's plot to support Trump in the 2016 election.
“All he’s hearing in D.C. is ‘you can’t do this, you can’t do that.’ He can’t criticize the Fed, he can’t criticize the intelligence community,” said a source close to Trump. “He’s obviously going to get frustrated by the can’t-do mentality.”
Trump will never listen to advice, the story said.
“The president doesn’t respect norms,” the source said. “Norms are rules written by somebody else.”
Even when his team thought they had agreed to a plan with Trump, he bungled it.
The plan before his meeting with Vladimir Putin had been to spin the indictments as a positive, with Trump set to “shove it in Putin’s face and look strong doing it."
Instead he rolled over and gave equal creditability to Putin and American intelligence.
The Journal talked to Andy Card, chief of staff to President George W. Bush, who said this was likely Trump's worst week yet.
“I think he had the most challenging week of his presidency in terms of living up to his own expectations,” said Card. “I do think he’s come to recognize that it didn’t go the way he thought it would go... I’m not sure he likes learning the lessons he’s learned."
You can read the whole report here (subscription required).