"Like a pinball machine": Lawmakers struggle to negotiate with an erratic Trump

“Democrats have learned not to trust him, and Republicans are walking away wondering what the White House’s bottom lines are,” Manley said. “These kind of meetings just sow confusion and leave people wondering what the president wants.”…

“He’s going with the television headlines from day to day instead of following a policy strategy,” said one Republican consultant close to the White House, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to offer a more candid assessment. “When he sees backlash from Republican lawmakers and others, he shifts his position and then tries to shift the topic to something else.”

Rick Wilson, a Republican consultant and sharp Trump critic, expressed pessimism about gun-control legislation, blaming Trump’s unreliability.

“You can’t rely on Donald Trump. He is an unreliable narrator of his own story,” Wilson said. “He works off his urges and impulses and not any sort of philosophical framework.”