Tuesday, June 19, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He partially defeated his aides' attempts to manage his moods on the immigration catastrophe.

As is often the case, Trump has blamed the media for the public outrage about his new child-separation policy. He believes that news outlets have selected especially provocative photographs and recordings to inflame public opinion. The reason is a familiar one for the Trump White House: as the Washington Post reported today, his aides have been feeding him positive and flattering coverage.
Trump has been closely monitoring the coverage but has been suspicious of it, telling associates he believes that the media cherry-picks the most dramatic images and stories to portray his administration in a negative light, according to one senior administration official. 
The images in the media contrast with more positive photos that Trump’s aides have shown the president depicting detained children smiling, playing video games and exercising outside, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be candid.
But this time, Trump seemed to gain at least a glimmer of understanding of the reality of the situation. Trump met with Republican members of Congress this evening, many of whom are both horrified by the effects of the policy itself, and almost all of whom are worried about its effects on their re-election chances in November. Trump told them that he now understood how bad the political optics were, thanks to a conversation he had with his daughter Ivanka.

If true, this may be the first concrete effect of Ivanka Trump's lucrative turn as a White House advisor that the public has ever seen.

According to the Republican members of Congress present, the meeting did not result in progress on the issue.

So what?

  • The problem here is actually bigger than whether incarcerating children looks bad.
  • It's bad when a president's staff feels the need to manipulate him, even if they don't completely succeed.