Quick Takes: Trump’s Congressional Agenda is Dead

A roundup of news that caught my eye today.

* I’ve been saying it for awhile now, but allow me to repeat myself: Trump’s Congressional agenda is dead. Here’s the exclamation point.

Republican congressional leaders don’t expect to release a joint tax plan with the White House next month, and they’ll rely instead on House and Senate tax-writing committees to solve the big tax questions that remain unanswered, according to two people familiar with the matter…

The change may run counter to what Trump’s advisers and GOP lawmakers have called the importance of having a unified plan among the White House, the Senate and the House — a lesson they learned from the failure of legislation aimed at repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.

It’s also a departure from former White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s comments in March that the Trump administration would be “driving the train” on efforts to rewrite the tax code.

* I worry that this will be the story we’re all talking about tomorrow:

Harvey rapidly intensified Thursday morning in the central Gulf of Mexico, and officially became a hurricane at 1 p.m. eastern. The extremely dangerous storm is predicted to strengthen further and plow into Southeast Texas Friday as the first major hurricane, rated Category 3 or higher (on the 1-5 Saffir-Simpson intensity scale), to strike U.S. soils in 12 years.

An incredible amount of rain, up to 20 to 30 inches in some areas, is likely as the storm is predicted to stall and unload torrential downpours for four to six straight days.

“Trying not to be dramatic, but I fear epic flood catastrophe,” tweeted Marshall Shepherd, a former president of the American Meteorological Society.

Beyond what the storm could do, this is what worries me.

* Here’s an update from Interior Secretary Zinke on the story I wrote about earlier today:

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said he’s recommending that none of 27 national monuments carved from wilderness and ocean and under review by the Trump administration be eliminated.

But there would be changes to a “handful,” he said.

* David Roth provides a colorful description of how he sees Trump and his supporters.

To understand Trump is also to understand his appeal as an aspirational brand to the worst people in the United States. What his intransigent admirers like most about him—the thing they aspire to, in their online cosplay sessions and their desperately thirsty performances for a media they loathe and to which they are so helplessly addicted—is his freedom to be unconcerned with anything but himself. This is not because he is rich or brave or astute; it’s because he is an asshole, and so authentically unconcerned. The howling and unreflective void at his core will keep him lonely and stupid until the moment a sufficient number of his vital organs finally resign in disgrace, but it liberates him to devote every bit of his being to his pursuit of himself. Actual hate and actual love, as other people feel them, are too complicated to fit into this world. In their place, for Trump and for the people who see in him a way of being that they are too busy or burdened or humane to pursue, are the versions that exist in a lower orbit, around the self. Instead of hate, there is simple resentment—abject and valueless and recursively self-pitying; instead of love, there is the blank sucking nullity of vanity and appetite.

* Finally, if you don’t live in a community where people feel free to talk like this, then I can understand why you might assume that people voted for Trump because of their economic anxiety.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.