The difference between 2017 and now is that the ability and interest of Trump’s staff to deflect and curtail his bad ideas. Exhibit A of this laxity in the staff has been acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Even back in the spring, Mulvaney adopted a “let Trump be Trump” approach, loosening access to the president and enabling the president’s more disruptive tendencies. He also made it clear to reporters that he enjoyed the perquisites of power and was uninterested in attempting to constrain Trump’s impulses.
That disinterest in opposing Trump came to a head this past week, first in his disastrous press conference on Thursday and then his almost-as-disastrous Fox News Sunday interview with Chris Wallace.
One of the amusing aspects of Mulvaney’s witless incompetence as a Trump shill is learning of Jared Kushner’s disenchantment with his performance. When Kushner seems like the more competent person in a staff, that is a sign that the staff has scraped the absolute bottom of the barrel.