According to one of Donald Trump's biographers, the president's backing down over his proposed tariffs on Mexico after claiming he had a trade deal -- which turned out to have been negotiated months before -- will likely make him lash out in more dangerous ways.
In his Bloomberg column, Tim O'Brien -- author of “TrumpNation: The Art of Being The Donald,” explains that Trump will likely up the ante next to reassert his authority.
"Any remaining thoughts that President Donald Trump has been playing three-dimensional chess while everyone else around him is engaged in less sophisticated pursuits should perish with his sudden abandonment of tariff threats against Mexico," O'Brien wrote. "The only thing Trump got from this stunt was yet another round of abundant attention as everyone tried to decipher the riddle of 'what-is-this-unusual-and-loopy-man-up to-this-time-because-he’s-breaking-the-norms-of-generally-accepted-presidential-behavior?'"
O'Brien asserts that -- while Trump basked in the attention and furor his tariff threat created -- he was likely displeased with how it played out in the press after he was exposed.
"This is a man flailing, much as he did several months ago after threatening to keep the U.S. government shut down unless he got the funding to build a wall along the southern border. More experienced and deft politicians than him torpedoed that gambit and the government reopened," O'Brien recalled.
"Trying to govern by threat and blunt force isn’t really governing at all, and if enough bluffs get called, the players on the other side of the table tend to stiffen their spines," he elaborated before offering a warning. "That’s not a good scenario for anyone involved, because a predictably unpredictable person lacking self-confidence, restraint and principled, courageous advisers may eventually try burning things down just to prove his point."
"The president of the United States isn’t playing chess. But, like a kid with matches, he’s only too happy to play with fire," he concluded.
You can read the whole piece here (subscription required).