President Trump had dinner with Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, sat down with the prime minister of Malaysia and prepared to visit hurricane-hammered Florida today.
In short, he’s having kind of a normal presidential week. And that’s days after Trump struck a deal with Democrats to extend the debt ceiling while allocating $15 billion in hurricane aid.
None of that would be particularly big news, except that this administration has been portrayed as being in chaos pretty much since day one—and has at times been consumed by controversy, scandal and political infighting.
Could things finally be settling down?
Similar suggestions in the past, for instance after a successful Trump speech, have quickly been erased by some eruption on Twitter or heated attack on media or political targets. And that could happen an hour from now.
But if you look at Trump’s Twitter feed, it’s been awhile since he picked unnecessary fights. The closest example came the other day when he took aim at NBC’s Katy Tur (without naming her) for a new book on covering his campaign: “Fascinating to watch people writing books and major articles about me and yet they know nothing about me & have zero access. #FAKE NEWS!”
And the president took some shots at the GOP—saying the party has a “death wish”—in the context of its failure to pass a health care bill and his temporary budget deal with the Dems.
At the moment, with John Kelly managing the White House, the administration seems more ... orderly. The palace intrigue stories have also receded somewhat, in part because folks like Reince Priebus, Anthony Scaramucci and Steve Bannon have left the White House.
At the same time, Politico is running a piece on “Teflon Don” being largely impervious to Democratic attacks:
"Pollsters are shocked by how many voters describe themselves as 'exhausted' by the constant chaos surrounding Trump, and they find that there’s strong support for a Congress that provides a check on him rather than voting for his agenda most of the time. But he is still viewed as an outsider shaking up the system, which people in the various surveys say they like, and which Democrats don’t stack up well against ...
"No single Democratic attack on the president is sticking — not on his temperament, his lack of accomplishments or the deals he’s touted that have turned out to be less than advertised ..
"Voters are also generally unimpressed by claims that Trump exaggerates or lies, and they don’t see the ongoing Russia investigation adding up to much."
A very different take, to be sure, than the mainstream media consensus since Jan. 20.
Here’s a tell: When Harvey was about to hit Texas, the press was filled with stories about whether Trump could pass his first natural disaster test. There were no such stories before or during Irma devastating Florida. So presumably he passed the test.
This may be a mere interlude, aided by a relative lull in the Russia story, before the White House is back in crisis mode. But it may also be that Donald Trump is learning the value of discipline.