Being president has a funny way of making people more presidential. If only he’d leave Twitter alone.
It was just last week that Donald Trump had the finest moment of his short presidency — his address to a joint session of Congress. Even many of his harshest critics praised his speech or reluctantly conceded that it was “presidential.”
The collective response from Republicans was no mere sigh of relief. It was more like the discovery that some vital biblical prophecy had been fulfilled: The Holy Pivot is here at last! Huzzah and hooray. Give the plebes extra rations of grain and wine, for today we celebrate!
We’ve had President Trump for a while, but this was Presidential Trump.
The obvious lesson drawn by Republican leaders was: This Trump could get serious things done. Just dialing it back to an 8 or 9 from his usual 11 or 12 (on a 10-point scale) reassures congressional allies, making it much easier for them to carry out his agenda. Acting presidential also undermines conservative critics and, more important, makes Democrats and much of the media look hysterical in their overreactions and calls for “resistance.”
And since Trump’s most loyal fans will celebrate anything he does, there’s no need to pander to them with the greatest hits anymore.
In short, there is no downside and all manner of upside for Trump to play the part of a somewhat sober, serious, responsible president — even one with an ambitious populist-outsider agenda.
Naturally, Trump opted for Plan B.
Step 1: Destroy all hope on Twitter.
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