As one well-connected Republican put it to me on a recent visit to Washington, the Trump administration is giving us a sense of what it would be like to have no president at all. The government goes about its business. Checks get mailed. Paperwork gets shuffled from office to office. But there is ultimately no one in charge to set priorities or establish an overarching direction.
The primary reason is that knowledge is power, President Trump knows almost nothing about public policy or how the government works, and he may well be ineducable. The result is an administration with a power vacuum at its core.
Trump’s ignorance is behind his failure to make any progress at all on two of the signature proposals from his campaign: the building of a wall along the southern border and the passage of a substantial infrastructure bill. Neither have happened because his own party in Congress is divided about whether to support either policy, and Trump himself has no idea how to go about getting the opposition to bend to his will.