Stop. Go back. Read that first sentence again.
That’s a remarkable thing. Even in an administration defined by its seeming unending capability to amaze and disrupt standard procedures of governance, the idea that there is an active effort among top aides to marginalize Trump stands out.
Those accounts confirm reports from sources like Omarosa Manigault Newman, a former Trump White House aide, and Michael Wolff in his best-selling “Fire and Fury.” While the anecdotes might differ, the thrust of all of this reporting on Trump is the same: He is an isolated figure who frequently lashes out at a staff that views him with some combination of fear, loathing and ridicule.
Trump, as he so often does, compounded an already-difficult situation with his reaction to it. He suggested that the writer of the anonymous op-ed may have committed “TREASON?” He called Woodward an “idiot” and his book a “work of fiction” less than a month after he is heard on a recording made by Woodward praising the reporter as “very fair.” He asked much-maligned Attorney General Jeff Sessions to open an investigation into the identity of the op-ed writer, although the legal grounds to do so are, well, nonexistent.
What everyone — Trump’s allies and his adversaries — agree on is that his isolation, his paranoia and the direness of his current situation all ramped up this week. Trump appears to be absolutely fixated on finding the identity of the op-ed writer, but uninterested in addressing the very real concerns the piece raises. He is leaning in to an all-out assault against Woodward while offering little actual evidence that anything the famed political reporter has in his book is factually inaccurate. And he continues to lash out at the special counsel probe being led by Robert Mueller even as his lawyers continue to negotiate the possibility of a sit-down between the President and the former FBI director.
On top of all of that is the fact that the midterm elections are only 60 days away — and all signs point to major Democratic gains in the House. And if Democrats take over the House, Trump’s life is going to get A LOT more complicated in the second half of his term.
The Point: It’s hard to pinpoint a worst week in what has been a presidency full of them. But the events of this week have to put it in the bottom five.
And now, the week that was in 28 headlines: