Trump unusually silent after Cohn, Tillerson challenge him

But he has stewed, this person said, as the comments from his own staff have dominated the news. Trump has repeatedly said that he doesn’t feel that others on his staff and Republicans on Capitol Hill are defending him enough.

“He feels like when you back down, people will just keep coming at you,” the adviser said. “Even if he knew he was wrong, I don’t think he’d back down.”

Longtime observers of Trump say he makes it difficult for others to defend him. He often makes incendiary comments, only to ratchet up the rhetoric after coming under criticism. Advisers and aides are then in an untenable position — having to decide whether to agree with him and face the backlash, or to artfully distance themselves, dodge or deny.