And yet, there is something unique to Trump’s shortcomings as a legislative operator. It’s not just that he has largely stopped trying, it’s that he’s done so, often, for the pettiest of reasons: that he doesn’t particularly like his primary negotiating partners.
In the spring of 2019, Trump stormed out of a meeting with Democrats, proclaiming he would not work with them unless they called off investigations into his conduct. Months later, the Democrats returned the favor, storming out of a White House briefing on troop withdrawals from Syria after Trump called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) a “third-rate” politician.
Trump’s animus towards Pelosi is so profound, at this critical juncture, that he has refused to meet with her. And while Pelosi’s lieutenants say she is more than comfortable sitting across the table from the president, none of them see the point, either.
“We lost confidence in our ability to negotiate with Trump several years ago since he was an unreliable negotiator,” said Rep. John Yarmouth (D-KY), the chair of the House Budget Committee. “So we basically have written him off as an honest partner anyway.”