Wednesday morning, The New York Times noted that Donald Trump entered autumn with the toughest test of his deal-making ability thus far ahead of him. And Wednesday afternoon, the president provided a riposte by striking a deal.
But the deal he struck is more of a win for Democrats than it is for his Republican allies in Congress. It funds the government through December 15, raises the debt ceiling, and procures funding for disaster relief. Trump agreed to the deal over the heated objections of GOP leaders, who see it as a capitulation to Democrats—the plan was the brainchild of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi—that sets congressional Republicans up to get rolled again in December.
Trump, however, displayed little hesitation in bucking his own party’s leaders in Congress. This is, in a way, a another example of Trump’s shallow, weak fidelity to the institution and platform of the GOP, but it has deeper roots in the president’s temperament. There’s a reason his famous book is titled The Art of the Deal and not The Art of Carefully, Slowly Outflanking Your Negotiating Partner: The president’s bias is often toward action, not about the details of the deal that emerges. In part, that’s a remnant of his days in real estate, where development deals were often mutually beneficial, and everyone wanted them. But that’s not the case in politics, where obstruction is often the most profitable course. In this case, it’s also a byproduct of Trump’s ideological agnosticism on many issues, which produces an indifference to the substance of any deal, so long as it’s struck.