Republicans who thought they could manage Donald Trump were taken down in The New Yorker on Tuesday.
The Susan Glasser article was titled, “The spectacular failure of the Trump wranglers.”
“On Tuesday, nearly seven hours into the marathon third day of public impeachment hearings, Kurt Volker tried to explain to the House Intelligence Committee what it was like to carry out the nearly impossible task of wrangling U.S. policy toward Ukraine during the Presidency of Donald Trump,” Glasser wrote. “Volker, a veteran Republican diplomat who had been serving, since 2017, as Trump’s Special Representative to Ukraine, said that he realized last spring that he had a ‘problem,’ and that it was Trump himself.
“To say that he failed would, of course, be an understatement. Had Volker succeeded, there would not be an impeachment proceeding against Trump in the House of Representatives,” she explained. “Instead, just a few months after Volker tried to fix the problem, he was under oath on Capitol Hill, testifying, on Tuesday, along with three current and former White House officials.”
Volker was not alone in making the assumption that Trump could be managed.
“The myth of the “adults in the room” has persisted since the beginning of the Administration, but it has never been accurate. There is no managing Donald Trump, no way to preserve one’s integrity while doing what is necessary to remain powerful in his orbit,” Glasser wrote. “Look at what happened to Rex Tillerson and Jim Mattis and John Kelly.”
“Trump is a government of one. He himself has said so repeatedly. Early in his Administration, under criticism for leaving key posts open at the State Department, Trump said that, when it comes to foreign policy, “I am the only one that matters.” At the time, less than a year into his Presidency, perhaps that could have been dismissed as hyperbole. Certainly, it would have been surprising to hear members of Congress publicly agreeing that the entire rest of the government—themselves and their own branch included—was irrelevant. Yet that is more or less where the impeachment process has ended up,” she explained.
Glasser noted Trump’s pattern.
“This, of course, is one of the reasons why Trump is on his fourth national-security adviser, his second Secretary of State, and his third chief of staff. In a government of one, even the officials who want to serve the President can find themselves not knowing what it is they are supposed to be doing. They can be undercut at any moment; they have been,” she noted. “A few months ago, there was no policy more bipartisan in Washington than backing Ukraine in its ongoing struggle with Russia. Just about the only person in the capital who did not support it was Donald Trump. It’s all so confusing. And that is nothing new in this Presidency.”
Read the full dispatch.