Congress is home for recess. But unlike the last congressional recess—which was marked by raucous town hall meetings that recalled the death panel summer of 2009—this one looks like it will be quieter, largely because the GOP is between legislative priorities and because no one seems to know where they’re going to go next. Health care reform has refused to go away, even after Paul Ryan declared Obamacare “the law of the land”—Republicans have owned themselves on a weekly basis, coming up with health care “compromises” that always seem to make their bill even less popular, both with other members of Congress and the public. There has been little movement on both infrastructure and tax reform—and no sense that Republicans aren’t about to repeat the same mistakes on those initiatives that they did with health care.
As for Donald Trump, there have been teases that he might unveil a world-shaking trade executive order this week. He’ll most likely make a fool of himself in front of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday, but that’s the only major meeting this week. And, though the White House will likely continue to be marred by infighting and leaking, reports over the weekend indicated that Reince Priebus, who has not been fired yet, brokered a truce between Steve Bannon and Jared Kushner.
Perhaps most importantly, Trump got a day of good press on Friday after lobbing 59 missiles into Syria in a one-off attack. The praise was totally undeserved, but it was also only the third good press day in his first 75 days in office (the other two followed his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and his address to a joint session of Congress). It was also the first that wasn’t immediately swallowed by more terrible press.
Donald Trump himself will continue to be a terrible and feckless leader, but every indication so far is that we’ve reverted to the terrible and feckless mean. The Beltway media loves a reset, however, and the bar has never been lower for a president. Trump is limping towards the arbitrary 100-day marker—he’s two and a half weeks away—but if he can slump over the finish line, he’ll probably still be praised by an elite media class that loves to give him gold stars for not, say, projectile vomiting all over the situation room during the bombing of Syria. A quiet week in office will help make Trump’s case that he’s maturing in the job, even though he isn’t.
That said, we’re talking about Donald Trump, so it will probably be reported in 36 hours that Mike Flynn met Vladimir Putin in a Pittsburgh Benihana’s.