Notable not just for the advice, but for the source, and the outlet which he uses to convey it. Rep. Steve King is the distillation of Trumpism in the House of Representatives — an immigration hawk, a cheerleader for America First and Donald Trump, and someone who would normally be loathe to criticize a Republican president … especially on CNN. And yet, here’s King gently suggesting that Trump needs to get better control of his id when it comes to fellow immigration-hardliner and America First devotee Jeff Sessions (via The Hill):
— New Day (@NewDay) July 26, 2017
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) argued Wednesday that President Trump’s recent attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions are a result of the president’s unfamiliarity with “the nuance” in politics.
“He’s not a polished politician when it comes to that, and I’m sure he’s not familiar with the nuance of the personalities and the massive egos that pack this Capitol that I’m standing in right now,” King told host Chris Cuomo on CNN’s “New Day.” …
“I wish he hadn’t done that, there’s a lot more subtle ways to get done what you need done, and some of that is sit down with people and look them in the eye, and tell them what’s important and ask them for their commitment,” King said.
“This arena, here now, there’s a lot at stake, and I think the president is frustrated, and if he’d restrained himself more, perhaps he could be a little more successful,” he added.
CNN, eh? Maybe King figures that’s the only option for getting Trump’s attention. And whose “massive egos” are we discussing here anyway? That can’t be a reference to Jeff Sessions, who exuded loyalty to the point of obsequiousness from his Day One on the Trump Train.
King’s not the first Republican to suggest that Trump invite Sessions to the White House for a chat. In an interview from the White House lawn, new comms director Anthony Scaramucci told Hugh Hewitt that he’d advised Trump to do the same thing. The trouble with that suggestion is that the two would need a moderator to eat lunch in the same room, according to Politico:
Trump’s public criticisms of his attorney general have led to an unusual spectacle where the two men aren’t talking — but sending messages through their aides and waiting for a resolution to the fate of the country’s top law enforcement official, according to interviews with six White House aides and advisers, as well as Sessions allies.
The zone of confusion has led to conservatives, liberals, West Wing aides and others wishing for a resolution and end of a tired storyline without having any idea when that resolution will come.
Don’t expect Trump to listen to his allies, even the ones he can’t afford to lose. It’s now more like a Thunderdome match than a political relationship:
“He wants to fire him but he doesn’t want the confrontation,” said one adviser who frequently speaks to him. “He doesn’t mind the long negative storyline. He will torture him every single day.”
This person said Trump also wants to see how Sessions will respond to humiliation and has mocked his response so far.
Good Lord. If Trump values that over his America First base, well, that speaks volumes about what that base can expect on their agenda over the next four years. King and others will need to dispense with the “nuance” and start getting a lot more direct if they want Sessions to stay on board, and Trump to focus on his agenda rather than petty personal squabbles.