“It’s just like everybody wakes up every morning and does whatever is right in front of them,” said one West Wing aide, speaking on the condition of anonymity to share a candid opinion. “Oh, my God, Trump Tower is on fire. Oh, my God, they raided Michael Cohen’s office. Oh, my God, we’re going to bomb Syria. Whatever is there is what people respond to, and there is no proactive strategic thinking.”…

Trump initially told aides that he wanted U.S. soldiers and Marines to leave in 48 hours — an impossible timeline that alarmed the Pentagon and sent officials racing to dissuade him, two U.S. officials said.

Eventually, Mattis and others persuaded Trump to give the military another six months to wipe out the remnants of the Islamic State. The timeline was far from ideal but was viewed as a major victory compared with Trump’s original timeline, officials said.