And so it was Monday that he skated through yet another sequence of stunning controversies and outrageous plot twists that would have been defining scandals for any other administration.
“You know what’s the most shocking (part) of it — that it isn’t shocking anymore,” Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told CNN’s Erin Burnett.
“I am almost numb. It is one thing after another, after another.”
Yet another logic-busting day in Washington is unlikely to make a dent in a presidency shored up by unshakable GOP support.
There were only the mildest Republican statements of concern — and relief — over the cancellation of Trump’s big Afghan photo op at Camp David.
Impossible to keep up
The President’s perpetual cycle of chaos shields him from scrutiny for too long on any one political storm. And he knows that his base voters have taken his advice to believe only the version of reality that he creates for them.
As the new week dawned, Washington was still digesting the stunning news — broken by Trump on Twitter of course — that he’d planned and then canceled talks at Camp David with the Taliban and the Afghan government, which is wary of his bid to get US troops out of the country as soon as possible.
Even Trump may not have got away with that one — perhaps a factor behind his decision not to go ahead, which pitched his administration’s peace initiative into serious doubt.
Before the morning was out, Trump’s mysterious relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin was back in the spotlight.
A person directly involved in the affair said the move was driven in part by concern that Trump and his administration had mishandled intelligence that could have helped expose the asset. The story raised fresh concerns about the haphazard national security process in the White House and Trump’s rough relationship with US intelligence services.
The White House said CNN’s report was incorrect.
Trump dismisses corruption claims
He didn’t argue that such a move would be unethical. The President insisted — with the chutzpah that his supporters love — that he was simply too rich to need the help.
“I’m going to give out my financial condition. And you’ll be extremely shocked that the numbers are many, many times what you think,” said Trump, who unlike other presidents has refused to release his tax returns and to fully divest from his businesses. “I don’t need to have somebody take a room overnight at a hotel.”
Trump also defended states that are canceling GOP presidential primaries, saying Republican dissidents who want to challenge him are “a laughingstock.”
It took only a few hours for the next stunner to break.
A Commerce Department spokesperson said the story was false.
It was far from the first time that Trump’s subordinates have felt under pressure to protect his blushes or to show allegiance. Several Cabinet meetings have turned into long sessions in which agency chiefs praise the President.
But the report casts a poor light on an administration that often appears to corrode the integrity on which good governance relies for the consent of the governed.
The ultimate test of Trump’s political resilience will come only in November 2020.
But if Monday is any guide, his opponents will need to sketch a strong campaign message to prevent his pell-mell style from swamping their efforts to hold him to account.