Trump is hopping mad. He’s had his worst week yet after being sworn in President.
That’s what palace informers are leaking this week - Trump is said to be “yelling at television sets in the White House over the Mueller probe reportage, fuming at the same man who advised him to fire Comey, annoyed that his big anti-Obama legislative agenda has been backburnered by the Russia investigations and is troubled enough to have appointed yet another outside lawyer to douse the fires licking the main door of the White House.
In a line, there’s a lot going wrong for Trump at home. His son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner is getting his own set of lawyers on the ready before the next string of Russia probe stories turn up on the front pages of Washington Post and The New York Times - both going after this one story with all the ammunition they’ve got.
When India’s Prime Minister Modi meets Trump on June 26, there will be just 4 legislative days left before Congress breaks for the July 4 recess. Trump’s big bang plan to upturn the Obama legacy on healthcare with his own is in total gridlock, pressure is mounting on his party to deliver something - anything because it’s already half way into Trump’s first year.
While Indo-US experts weigh in on what the strategic takeaways might be from the first meeting between Trump and Modi, the domestic pressures mounting on the Trump administration remain crucial.
Someone please take his Twitter away, top bureaucrats are known to be pleading with the gang of eight that surrounds Trump - Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and a handful of others Trump is known to lean on.
Among these folks, Bannon arc of influence matters most for Trump on political posturing - how to keep the Trump voter warm despite little movement on jobs, healthcare legislation and now the Russia investigation dominating prime time talk shows.
Just as Trump called up to congratulate Narendra Modi after the BJP’s thumping win in the Uttar Pradesh state elections - which was unprecedented, the White House backlash against H1B and Trump’s anti-India rant during the US pullout of the Paris climate deal are also uniquely Trumpian in terms of political strategy. It may fool no one in the East and West coasts of America but it plays well to Trump’s core voters in middle America.
Trump’s first full Cabinet meetings are ringing loudly across the political internet as a new age King Lear livestream, a sycophancy competition where grown men and women, billionaires and four star generals fawned on the leader “who’s keeping his word to the American people” while the cameras whirred.
On the same day, in Trump’s hometown New York, a “Julius Ceaser production opened at an outdoor theatre in Central Park where Ceasar is played by a blonde in a suit and red tie, complete with a stabbing thrown in which sent the President’s son Eric Trump into a sulk on Twitter.
The hot political betting markets are all about who gets fired next, whether Trump will testify to Mueller this year, which House wins the 2020 US Election and so on.
While Trump fumes, special counsel in charge of the Russia investigation Robert Mueller is digging his heels in, adding 13 more attorneys to his staff as the Russia investigation widens to potential obstruction of justice by the US President. A chilling detail for the White House from the prosecution team - the combined CVs of Mueller’s team have experience on everything from al-Qaeda to Richard Nixon and gangsters.
The current week is politically tense too - a crucial Congressional election in the United States after Trump took over in January happens this week and in a traditionally Republican seat and it’s now too close to call.
If the Republicans lose even by a whisker, might Steve Bannon be in a hurry to placate the Trump voter base with anti-immigrant talk at least to distract? That could mean H1Bs come into the firing line. One way to consider this is political strategy, the other is the return to a more 'normal' America which defines its interests more narrowly than America as a hegemon would.
Set against all these question marks, the upside of the timing of the Modi-Trump meeting is twofold: It’s a Monday and Trump will be fresh and rested from his weekend getaway which is usually at one of his luxurious, gold plated golf resorts and the results of the Georgia election would have been factored in during the previous week - if the Republicans lose.
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Updated Date: Jun 19, 2017 23:56:33 IST