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Neil Gorsuch just joined a long list of people not loyal enough to Donald Trump

President Donald Trump tends to operate without a set strategy. He is driven, most often, by personal pique. Those te...

Posted: Dec 20, 2017 5:31 AM
Updated: Dec 20, 2017 5:31 AM

President Donald Trump tends to operate without a set strategy. He is driven, most often, by personal pique. Those tendencies are managed, at times, by his staff, but are never totally eliminated. His personality -- volcanic, unpredictable, bullying -- was the single most important factor in Trump getting elected to the White House. It's also been the biggest impediment to him succeeding as he would have liked in his 1st year in the office.

Take Tuesday's report in the Washington Post about Trump's frustration with his Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. Here's the key bit:

"Earlier this year, Trump talked about rescinding Gorsuch's nomination, venting angrily to advisers after his Supreme Court pick was critical of the president's escalating attacks on the federal judiciary in private meetings with legislators....

....The president worried that Gorsuch would not be 'loyal,' one of the people said, and told aides that he was tempted to pull Gorsuch's nomination - and that he knew plenty of other judges who would want the job."

At issue, according to the Post report, was that Gorsuch had called Trump's criticism of the federal judiciary "disheartening" and "demoralizing" in a get-to-know-you interview with Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat.

Trump, for his part -- in a tweet on Tuesday -- called the report, wait for it, "FAKE NEWS" and insisted he "never even wavered" when it came to his decision to select Gorsuch.

It's worth noting here that the Post story is based on 11(!) sources "familiar" with Trump's outburst regarding Gorsuch. So, while I think it's worth noting the President's denial, his past casual relationship with the truth and the deep sourcing on the Post story suggest -- at least to me -- that the reporting is accurate.

There's also the fact that this sort of behavior is entirely consistent with what we know about how Trump has operated as President. Off the top of my head, here are a list of people he has fumed at for alleged disloyalty or for causing him undue problems or bad press:

Jeff Sessions Rex Tillerson Reince Priebus Sean Spicer Mitch McConnell Jeff Flake Bob Corker John McCain Jared Kushner, Rod Rosenstein, James Comey Bob Mueller

(And that's far from a complete list.)

This is who this President is. He has a short fuse. He is not someone willing to take the blame for either his own errors or those of the people around him. When things go wrong, he lashes out. And, perhaps most importantly, he expects total and complete fealty from not only the people who work for him but anyone with an "R" after their name. When he doesn't get the loyalty he expects, he gets very angry.

Which brings us back to Gorsuch and what he was doing in that chat with Blumenthal. It seems fairly clear that some smart aide told Gorsuch that if he got a chance in his round-robin interview with Senators to show his willingness to break with Trump, he should take it. So, he did.

All judicial nominees -- especially for the nation's highest court -- face doubts that they are willing and able to be independent from the President who nominated them to this lifetime post. Getting confirmed by the Senate -- as Gorsuch did with 54 votes -- almost necessitates this sort of judicial Sister Souljah moment.

Gorsuch's comments to Blumenthal were a strategy -- and a good one. (That's not to say Gorsuch doesn't believe what he said about Trump's comments on the judiciary. Just that his willingness to acknowledge those feelings in an interview with a Democratic Senator was not an accident.)

That Trump either didn't see what Gorsuch was doing or didn't understand the strategy is indicative of how short-term his thinking tends to be when it comes to politics and how people treat him.

Here's a quick look at how Trump thought about Gorsuch: I nominated. --- He owes me big time! --- He said what about me? -- I've got 100 guys would be thrilled to take his place! --- Who knows if this guy is even the right guy?

Trump, this time, kept his unhappiness with Gorsuch private and was apparently mollified by the fact that a letter from Gorsuch praising Trump was found and shown to the President. (No, that is not a joke.)

The broader point here: Trump is -- now and always -- motivated by personal rivalries and perceived slights. That is what sits at the heart of many of the moves he makes -- and those he doesn't make.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 86722

Reported Deaths: 1994
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin25264915
Ramsey10267314
Dakota6942124
Anoka5531131
Stearns362923
Washington345955
Scott232532
Olmsted223726
Nobles191416
Blue Earth15406
Wright14777
Carver13037
Rice12798
Mower12534
St. Louis123329
Clay119940
Sherburne105013
Kandiyohi9082
Winona72718
Lyon6244
Steele5062
Freeborn4903
Nicollet48716
Watonwan4844
Benton4793
Todd4722
Le Sueur4403
McLeod4332
Chisago4151
Waseca4118
Crow Wing40218
Otter Tail3674
Beltrami3624
Goodhue3179
Martin2809
Polk2574
Itasca25513
Becker2352
Carlton2261
Isanti2210
Douglas2191
Cottonwood2130
Pipestone2059
Pine1980
Morrison1841
Chippewa1821
Dodge1820
Sibley1663
Wabasha1640
Brown1582
Unassigned15752
Meeker1552
Murray1492
Yellow Medicine1421
Rock1390
Mille Lacs1333
Faribault1290
Cass1203
Jackson1201
Renville1176
Pennington1071
Houston1050
Roseau1050
Swift991
Fillmore980
Koochiching983
Kanabec958
Lincoln930
Redwood910
Stevens911
Pope810
Aitkin691
Hubbard650
Big Stone640
Wadena610
Grant574
Wilkin553
Norman510
Lake480
Marshall481
Mahnomen441
Red Lake370
Lac qui Parle360
Traverse290
Clearwater240
Lake of the Woods201
Kittson130
Cook60

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 76924

Reported Deaths: 1241
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk14988255
Johnson490727
Woodbury475459
Black Hawk425184
Linn3640102
Story321417
Dallas263238
Scott261427
Dubuque251840
Buena Vista191812
Pottawattamie189437
Marshall175234
Sioux12243
Wapello122057
Webster117914
Muscatine105152
Clinton102418
Cerro Gordo97721
Plymouth97520
Crawford9444
Warren9186
Jasper72032
Des Moines7137
Marion6874
Tama67830
Carroll6085
Lee5727
Wright5491
Henry5104
Dickinson4666
Bremer4497
Boone4346
Washington41411
Louisa41314
Franklin33017
Hamilton3123
Mahaska30919
Delaware3053
Jackson2803
Floyd2793
Winneshiek2745
Clay2663
Hardin2661
Benton2611
Clarke2533
Butler2512
Winnebago24711
Emmet24210
Shelby2381
Allamakee2355
Jones2313
Poweshiek2308
Clayton2243
Lyon2233
Buchanan2181
Cedar2101
Guthrie2095
Chickasaw1970
Kossuth1950
Grundy1932
Madison1922
Howard1764
Sac1760
Fayette1751
Iowa1741
Cherokee1732
Mitchell1720
Hancock1702
Humboldt1682
Harrison1642
Calhoun1612
Mills1541
Pocahontas1492
Palo Alto1480
Monroe1409
Page1400
Jefferson1291
Lucas1296
Cass1262
Monona1251
Taylor1171
Appanoose1163
Osceola1130
Union1123
Davis1104
Van Buren1081
Worth990
Keokuk841
Montgomery845
Greene790
Ida770
Wayne762
Fremont730
Adair591
Decatur580
Audubon501
Ringgold402
Adams270
Unassigned160
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