As President Donald Trump jetted to Montana on Thursday night to give a campaign speech at a rally for Matt Rosendale, here’s what was on his plate:
- A book by Bob Woodward, which isn’t even out until Tuesday, making the case that top aides to Trump belittle him in private and work to circumvent his decisions on major issues in order to protect the country
- An anonymous New York Times op-ed from a senior person in his administration that suggests there is an organized group aimed at resisting and defusing Trump’s worst instincts.
- The ongoing probe by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, and the possibility that Russians colluded with members of the Trump campaign.
- A midterm election in which all signs point to a Republican washout and the loss of the party’s majority — a scenario that, if it comes to pass, would make the possibility of impeachment proceedings a very real thing.
That’s not all that’s on Trump’s mind. But, man oh man, just those four things is A LOT.
Now, Trump has said throughout his life that he thrives under pressure. “You can’t be successful if you can’t handle pressure” is one of his most famous quotes.
But has Trump ever dealt with pressure like this? Making a business deal — even a multi-billion dollar one — is one thing. Dealing with a near-coup within the White House — even as a former FBI director looks into various aspects of your life and business — is another.
And Trump faces this unique pressure with deep distrust both toward and among his staff, and without the ability to change much of anything that is backing him into corner. He can’t un-publish Woodward’s book. He can’t force the Times to tell him the name of the op-ed author. He can’t make Mueller end his probe (although he could try).
If past is prologue, a cornered Trump is a dangerous one. Always impetuous and mercurial, those traits seem to be heightened when Trump feels constrained — limited in the choices he can make or the people he can trust.
The Point: Look out. If you thought Trump tweeting “TREASON?” earlier this week was over the top, you might not have seen the extent of his unpredictability.