He was in no mood to defend Trump

Even Ed Rogers, a Republican lobbyist who has been defending Trump in the Washington Post for months, is disgusted. Susan Glasser talked to him for a New Yorker piece.

And yet when I met Rogers, at his usual table in the back of the room at Tosca, the expensive but understated Italian restaurant across the street from his lobbying firm, where he goes to lunch almost every day, he was in no mood to defend Trump. The constant tweeting, the personal attacks on his own team, were taking a toll. “Every week!” Rogers said. “It’s surreal.” Then he paused, almost groaning when he asked, “Why does it have to be this way?”

Because Trump is what he is and not something else. He is what he is and what he has always obviously been – there wasn’t a better wiser more adult human being under the stuffed bladder of Public Trump. Under bloviating pinch-pointing fishmouth Donald Trump is just more of the same. He’s all exterior.

The weekend war of words between Corker and Trump had left Rogers, like many lobbyists in town, thinking not so much of the actual world war that Corker warned about (though he’s worried about that, too) but about the fate of Trump’s proposed tax-reform plan.

Good ol’ Republicans. “Yeah nuclear war would be a hassle but the real agony is losing the tax cuts for millionaires.”

Until now, Rogers and many other Washington Republicans have placed their hopes in the idea that sober-minded types like the new chief of staff, John Kelly, will somehow find a way to check Trump’s worst impulses, as was clear from a story he recounted. Rogers said that he remembered attending a session once with Steve Bannon, who was the President’s top White House strategist at the time, and who has returned to his previous roles as chairman of the conservative news site Breitbart and scourge of the Party establishment. Bannon had said, as Rogers remembered it, “ ‘There’s a bunch of people who think they have to protect the country from Trump.’ He said it in a belittling way.” At this, Rogers shook his head again and told me, “Well, it’s not heretical to say such a thing and think such a thing.”

Says the lobbyist who had been supporting him until just recently. If you know Trump has worst impulses that need to be checked, and those worst impulses are much worse than the normal routine worst impulses of presidents, then why did you ever support him in the first place? Weasel.

They all hate him, but they won’t all say it in public. That’s cool: it’s only the welfare of the 300-something million people in the US and also pretty much everyone else on the planet, apart from Putin and the odd oligarch.

As a Republican veteran of Capitol Hill explained to me, “The taxonomy of Washington Republicans is not a bright line of Never Trump versus pro-Trump.” There is, instead, “a continuum of people who are to varying degrees either outright supportive of the President or comfortable with the fact that getting things done requires working with the Administration to outright disgust and opposition.” As I have found, and with the exception of a small handful of officials who came to town with Trump, the private comments of even the most publicly pro-Trump Republicans often differ little from their more outspoken colleagues.

They know he’s shit but they won’t do anything about it. Impressive.

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