Trump has never known how to work with Congress

Two months after asserting his candidacy for the presidency, Donald Trump arrived on the Iowa State Fair in a “Trump”-emblazoned helicopter. Over an hour-and-a-half, he pushed by way of the fairgrounds, surrounded by a clot of admirers and curious Iowans. But earlier than that started, he took questions from the press.

He was requested, amongst different issues, how he would handle Congress as president.

“I’ll get Congress,” Trump replied. “I’ve been getting politicians to pass whatever I wanted all my life. Nobody has more experience — you know, it’s sort of interesting, nobody has more experiences dealing with politicians. I’ve been dealing with them all my life.”

How? As a developer.

“Whether it’s big New York City zoning deals — which, by the way, are probably tougher than most of the things I’ll be dealing with foreign countries,” he continued. “I mean, I built a city on the West Side of Manhattan. You talk about getting zoning. Getting zoned for Trump Tower: 68 stories on 57th and 5th. Let me tell you, I’ve been dealing with politicians all my life. They’re fine. They’re wonderful. They’re all talk, they’re no action. They’re selling this country down the tubes, and they’re easy to deal with. Believe me.”

In 1980, the New York Times defined how Trump finessed the zoning board for the event of Trump Tower. After quoting a enterprise associate of Trump’s, who stated that Trump “knows how to get things done in New York,” the paper defined: “In part, that is a matter of politics.” The solely donor who gave extra money than Trump to the marketing campaign of the incumbent governor, it reported, was the governor’s brother. While a deputy mayor additionally stated that Trump “could be very convincing” when promoting a venture, a metropolis council member instructed the Times that “Trump runs with the same clique that continues to manipulate things behind the scenes in this city,” together with hyperlinks to a Democratic Party machine in Brooklyn related by way of his father.

The Times additionally reported that the ultimate negotiated peak of Trump Tower was 56 tales, not 68.

Why re-litigate 40-year-old information articles and four-year-old information conferences? Because it’s price remembering that Trump at no time was ready to handle the method of passing laws by way of the House and the Senate. The present authorities shutdown, approaching three weeks in size, stemmed from twin failures on Trump’s half: Most just lately in an incapability to cajole members of Congress to see his facet on funding for a wall on the border with Mexico and, earlier, a failure to passing a funding mechanism for that wall throughout the two years when Republicans managed the House and the Senate.

Trump will be aware (and has famous) that the existence of the filibuster makes passing laws trickier than naked majorities may make it appear. And that’s honest — but it surely additionally implies that Trump at no level was ready to use these zoning-board abilities to persuade even eight Democrats to be a part of his view of a problem. At one level, a deal appeared to be within the works with the Democratic minority, buying and selling wall cash for the safety of immigrants lined beneath the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Trump rejected that deal, and right here we’re.

At instances over his first two years in workplace, Trump was unable to even navigate points in style with the Republican base and that didn’t require a 60-vote margin. He deferred to congressional leaders on the outlines of an overhaul to the Affordable Care Act, later disparaging a House-passed invoice earlier than it received to the Senate. When a reform effort got here to the Senate beneath reconciliation guidelines that required solely 50 votes, Trump couldn’t persuade these “easy-to-deal-with” politicians to move it, regardless of his celebration’s majority.

That Trump’s crew didn’t advance the overhaul laws is the least shocking a part of this. At the identical information convention in Iowa, he proudly proclaimed that he was reticent to put collectively place papers — each as a result of voters don’t actually care about them (honest sufficient) and since they’d tie his fingers in negotiations. Part of it, too, was clearly that the specifics of drafting laws never appealed to him. So he has frequently left the small print up to his colleagues on the Hill, then has had to advocate for issues that he himself didn’t develop. Pun supposed.

There are numerous causes that the present struggle with Congress is unwinnable for the president. He selected to make a stand on his most politically divisive proposal exactly as a result of it’s so divisive and, subsequently, so vital to probably the most vocal a part of his base. But it additionally provides his opponents even much less incentive to facet with him than they may in any other case have. He has been ineffective at making his case, partially as a result of the case he’s making is similar one he has revamped your complete course of his political profession. He is left flailing, with no apparent approach out however to fold.

That, too, is a part of the Trump enterprise legacy. Over his a number of many years in the true property business, he has walked away from dangerous or failing initiatives, comparable to his casinos in Atlantic City.

Or that “city” Trump constructed on the West Side of Manhattan.

It was not the proof of his savvy that Trump introduced in Iowa. Intending the event to function the tallest constructing on the earth, he had hoped to lure NBC to it. That never materialized, thanks partially to tax concessions that NBC obtained to keep in Rockefeller Center — concessions that Trump had sought to assist his improvement venture.

The Times famous on the time that Trump had “suffered only defeats” in advancing the venture, writing that “Trump does not so much avoid failure as know how to land on his feet and change course so deftly that no one catches on.”

Trump gave up that dream. Instead of his grand metropolis, a sequence of residence towers had been constructed alongside the West Side freeway. They have been within the information just lately as residents have voted to take away Trump’s identify from the buildings’ facades.

Philip Bump is a correspondent for The Washington Post based mostly in New York. Before becoming a member of The Post in 2014, he led politics protection for the Atlantic Wire.

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