President Donald Trump has spent his final weeks in office much as he has the preceding years: setting fire to the relationships that buttressed his rise to power.
Over the past few days, the president has floated primaries against top-ranking Republicans, pushed out administration officials who were bedrock allies, threatened major bills crafted in conjunction with his team, and turned on officials who won’t help him cling to power. Inside the White House, the response to it all has been growing alarm, coupled with resignation that this is the 45th U.S. president’s modus operandi. Trump’s profound self-interest is no secret. But never has that trait been so visible against a backdrop this consequential, with his legal team and administration’s attack on democratic processes so blatantly anti-democratic.
“The president spent much of the Christmas weekend [at Mar-a-Lago] talking about other Republicans who weren’t doing what he wanted and acting like failures and defeatists,” said one person present at his private Florida club who was on the receiving end of his grievances. Even behind closed doors, the source said, “he was not finding much to be happy about this Christmas.”