We’ve been expecting this for a long time:
“Even before he decided to launch a trade war and roll the nuclear dice by agreeing in the course of a West Wing afternoon to a risky sit-down with Kim Jong Un, Donald Trump was telling friends he was tired of being reined in. “I’m doing great, but I’m getting all these bad headlines,” Trump told a friend recently. A Republican in frequent contact with the White House told me Trump is “frustrated by all these people telling him what to do.” …
According to five Republicans close to the White House, Trump has diagnosed the problem as having the wrong team around him and is looking to replace his senior staff in the coming weeks. “Trump is going for a clean reset, but he needs to do it in a way that’s systemic so it doesn’t look like it’s chaos,” one Republican said. …”
As we enter the spring, we’re getting into the 2018 election cycle.
It is an election year so we can expect the return of “campaign Trump” who wasn’t the same person as President Trump. There has been talk in the press for months now of the “full Trump” returning in 2018. The “full Trump” was nowhere to be seen in 2017. President Trump didn’t want anything to do with us at the time because the political capital had been deposited in the bank.
“Be smart: The restraints on Trump are fully removed. Imagine if Trump did publicly what he said privately during the first year-plus. He didn’t, in part because Reince Priebus, Gary Cohn, General Mattis, Dina Powell, Rob Porter and others conspired to box him in and occasionally talk him off the ledge. No more.
Now, what Trump says will likely just happen. …”
Alternatively, there is the theory that 2017 was such a garbage year because of the conservatives who President Trump surrounded himself at the outset of his administration. I believe there is a lot of truth to this theory. I’ve said all along that Gary Cohn, HR McMaster, General Mattis and Jarvanka in particular have been having a massive negative effect on the Trump administration.
We’re going to cheer their departure. It is still an open question as to who moves into that power vacuum. There has been talk of bringing Larry Kudlow, John Bolton and Andrew Puzder into the Trump administration. This would be replacing bad personnel with more bad personnel. Nothing of interest is going to get done in the second half of 2018 in the heat of the election season.
The real question is who is President Trump going to be in 2019 when the next Congress is seated. Is he going to be the “full Trump” or “campaign Trump” of 2015 and 2016? Is he going to be the President Trump who deferred to conservatives and gave them everything they wanted in 2017? Is he going to be a liberated Trump who has been unshackled by the awful advisers he surrounded himself with?
I don’t think we have enough information yet to tell. We will be watching though. If the “full Trump” returns and does all the things he promised to do, we will change our tune and stand and applaud, but if this is just an election year gimmick to goose turnout we make sure everyone knows.