Why would a sitting president wake up at 6:30 AM on a Saturday and take to Twitter to level wild conspiratorial claims about a past president? Sure, Donald Trump is unhinged, but journalist Robert Costa pinpointed on MSNBC Tuesday what's really haunting Trump's first few months in office.
He truly thinks day to day about President Obama and he compares himself to how much President Obama was able to accomplish in his first few months in office. Why? He is somewhat haunted, as some put it to me, by President Obama's first term. I'm not sure, I'm not a psychologist. But he does often talk about what President Obama was able to do with a Democratic Congress back in 2009.
Those comparisons have not figured favorably for Trump. A series of articles along with cable news coverage over the past several weeks have noted that while Obama logged several major legislative wins within his first months in office, Trump has been forced to scrap his biggest executive action to date (the Muslim ban), has resorted to continually insisting that his precious border wall will be built, and has been resigned to signing into law several relatively obscure (though destructive) regulatory changes. That's a pathetic scorecard, frankly, when compared to Obama's whirlwind of activity, including enacting a nearly $1 trillion stimulus package.
So as Congress embarks on Paul Ryan's fraught effort to repeal health care for millions, that's the lens through which Trump approaches the task at hand.
In fact, the White House immediately started referring to Ryan's bill as a "framework" and Pence has signaled to the House maniacs that they're willing to negotiate. They’re desperate to make it happen and Trump actually started putting some skin in the game by shaming GOP conservatives who oppose the bill in its current form.
Ryan and Mitch McConnell both have policy and electoral goals at stake: the tax cuts for the rich included in the bill are paramount to them. Plus, they both know they'll face an electoral bloodbath in 2018 if they completely fail the GOP base on their signature promise of the last seven years.
But Trump—seething over the Obama comparisons and obsessed with vanquishing his perceived enemies (whether they're real or not)—has one motivating principle: beating Obama. Managing to ram through health care repeal in a shorter window than Obama passed the ACA would help soothe his exceedingly fragile ego. Trump doesn't care about keeping his pledge to cover “everybody.” He just deeply needs something—anything—to call a win.
Go ahead and ponder that while you watch Obama get cheered last month for getting a cup of coffee in New York City below. When’s the last time Trump got that type of welcome in his home state?