Donald Trump is proud of his reputation as a master dealmaker. Congressional Republicans even like to bring it up to flatter him.
"He comes from the private sector where your business partner today isn't always your business partner tomorrow," Rep. Darryl Issa (R-CA) told the Washington Post. "Just because you're one way today doesn't mean you're written off. That's The Art of the Dealside."
The reality, however, is that this is little more than thin excuse making for a president whose statements tend toward extreme incoherence. In a practical sense, Tuesday afternoon's rushed meeting between Trump and the entire Senate GOP caucus simply served to once again clarify that when it comes to policymaking, Trump can't close a deal to save his life.
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Mitch McConnell's draft health care legislation seemed to end the meeting with, if anything, less support than it had going into it. After all, given that the bill didn't have the votes to pass and that some kind of concessions were going to have to be made to someone to get it over the top, why not become a squeaky wheel and try to get some grease?
But getting the job done is going to be a task almost exclusively for McConnell himself. Meetings and phone calls with the president don't help.
And all for one pretty simple reason: The president of the United States has no idea what he's talking about.