Aides to President Donald Trump don't see any way for him to gracefully end the government shutdown over the border wall that he told voters Mexico would pay for, Vanity Fair reports.
"It’s the president’s personal Alamo," Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman writes. "Inside the West Wing, Trump has told aides he’s prepared to stake his presidency on making a last stand."
“He has convinced himself he can’t win re-election in 2020 unless he gets a lot of the wall built. It’s fundamental to his id,” a former White House official told Sherman. “The problem is, the Democrats know that.”
Republicans close to the White House and Congress both fear that Trump began his stare-down with what was then a GOP-controlled Congress without any exit strategy should he fail to convince Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her caucus to go along with his plan.
“The president put himself in a box,” the former official said. “The problem is there’s no endgame. Right now the White House is at a seven on the panic scale. If this thing goes on past the State of the Union they’re going to be at an 11.”
Vanity Fair says that brand-new Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney "may already be looking at escape routes" and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski -- who knows Trump as well as anyone in politics -- smells blood, telling friends he "wouldn't last long."
Read the full report here.