The writing’s been on the wall for days. Almost 48 hours ago, Joni Ernst was signaling to the White House with neon lights to move on from Moore.

Trump finally bowed to reality shortly after noon on Thursday:

“Withdraw” is an interesting choice of words. It turns out Moore was doing the rounds with media this morning, something you wouldn’t expect a candidate who’s contemplating dropping out to bother with. He didn’t seem like he was ready to quit as of two hours ago:

Another reporter at Bloomberg claims to have spoken with Moore less than an hour before Trump’s announcement:

Compare that with Moore’s written statement released this afternoon claiming that the attacks on him are too much for him and his family:

In the span of a few hours, after taking hits for weeks and remaining “all in,” he and his family supposedly concluded they can stand no more. Either Moore’s “withdrawal” was actually a case of Trump yanking the nomination and granting Moore the courtesy of pretending like it was his own decision or the media dug up some hugely damaging new dirt on Moore that only came to his attention within the last hour or so. An interesting follow-up tweet from Green:

If Trump made him walk the plank, though, why now? He’s spent weeks letting the nominee get dinged for everything from bad economic advice to unpaid alimony to dubious writing about women to his obvious cronyist relationship with Trump to once calling Cleveland and Cincinnati, two cities in a Trump state, the “armpits of America.” Presumably Tuesday’s grumbling to the media by Republican senators like Ernst was followed by a private message from McConnell to Trump informing him that, no really, Moore doesn’t have the votes and isn’t going to get them so it’s time to stop the bleeding. Which Trump finally did.

It’s okay, though. He’ll have the last laugh when the next nominees are Diamond and Silk.

I wonder what this means for future presidential nominations. Republicans wouldn’t dare cross Trump on something as momentous as a Supreme Court appointment but what if POTUS tries to slot someone in at the Pentagon now whom Senate GOPers are iffy about? Having just successfully torpedoed Moore and Herman Cain before the confirmation process began with seemingly no ill effects from Trump or his base, they might start getting nervy about executive nominees. To which Trump would likely reply: “Fine. I prefer acting appointees anyway.” By the end of his term I expect most of the cabinet will be filled either by undersecretaries who have been elevated indefinitely to fill a vacancy at the top or by Mick Mulvaney types who have lateraled over from another department under the Vacancies Reform Act whether they’re qualified or not. In all seriousness, I wonder if Trump will ever again have a cabinet of appointees all of whom have been confirmed by the Senate for the jobs they hold. Even if he serves a second term.