President Trump is in a battle for his presidency, and he’s waging the fight in the public arena.
The greatest consequence of Democratic control over the House has nothing to do with legislation. It has to do with trying to destroy the Trump presidency, which has been the Democrats’ goal since Election Day 2016.
Trump is well aware that this will involve endless investigations of everything from his businesses and tax returns to discovering how he manages to look like he has lots of hair.
The president has two defenses: His White House legal team, which he has already enhanced, and public opinion. If he can get the public to see overreach on the part of the Democrats, he might convince Nancy Pelosi to put the breaks on some of the probes.
We saw the commencement of the public square strategy during the State of the Union. Trump’s call for bipartisanship and his effort to portray himself as seeking love and cooperation was the sunny half of the strategy. “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation,” he said in the State of the Union.
The other half is bashing his opponents, Trump’s specialty. As we’ve seen, it can be quite effective. Thursday morning, two tweets targeted the man who will be one of his chief nemeses, Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Wash.
It’s a plan. It might work. A lot of these Democrats have unappealing personalities and therefore make appealing targets.
And if the Mueller report lacks any evidence of Russia collusion and fails to make very serious allegations against the president, the idea that all of this is frivilous could take root.