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Trump's Lost Summer: Aides claim victory, but others see incompetence and intolerance

President Trump walks over to the seafarer to retire from the White House South Lawn on August 9 (Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post)

When President Trump chairs battle tanks and fighters, fireworks and worshiping fans on July 4 , he could not know that the militaristic Greetings to America – as well as himself – would turn into the obvious peak of the season.

This is what some Trump advisers and allies characterize. like a lost summer, defined by self-inflicted disputes and wasted opportunities. Trump evens out racist attacks against four congressional women in troop color. He taunts the Baltimore black city as "attacked rats and rodents." His anti-immigrant rhetoric was voiced in a massacre that authorities believe was a suspected mass shooter, his visits to Dayton, Ohio and El Paso following gun killings in those cities served to divide rather than cure.

Trump's economy also began to crumble, with markets changing based on the President's misconduct. His trade war with China grew more rapidly. His diplomatic diplomacy at the summit of the group of seven left allies uncertain of US leadership. The president returned from his visit to France in a sour mood, disappointed by what he felt was an unfair negative coverage of news of his trip.

The two months between Independence Day and Labor Day offered a new and striking portrait of the president, as seen by Trump's critics – incompetent, indecisive, intolerant and ineffective.

White House officials are promoting the summer of 2019 as one of Trump's historic achievements, offering a list of more than two dozen accomplishments. But in private, many of the presidential and non-allied advisers are calling what they see as a period of missed opportunity and self-sabotage.

In the latest lull before the 2020 campaign begins to intensify this fall, Trump could work strategically to consolidate his position and broaden his appeal. Instead, his words and actions this summer served to further divide the country and solidify public opinion for the ever-polarizing president.

"You can't fall off the floor," says Republican strategist Alex Castellanos. "Everyone knows who Donald Trump is. Before he was elected, we knew he was grabbing women with the p-word, and he was this political hand grenade. If you hate Trump, you hate Trump; if you love Trump, you love Trump. "

Castellanos said that some of the chaos of summer is just a Washington muffin, but what can have a lasting impact is" not just the trade war, but the cold war with China and the uncertainty that can damage the economic growth, coming in November 2020. "

" We will remember this from the long, hot summer of 2019, Castellanos concluded.

Trump had some victories. In addition to celebrating Independence Day, Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III's testimony on two House committees on July 24 did not have the impact that many Democrats wanted, as Mueller did not provide new convincing evidence against the president. And last Thursday, the Justice Department's inspector general found that former FBI Director James B. Komi – a frequent target of Trump's fury – violated FBI policies in manipulating memoranda detailing his conflicting interactions with the president.

Asked about Trump's summer The White House offered a detailed, 26-point list of what employees identified as key successes. The most important roll ranges from the highly specific (meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and imposing more sanctions on Iran and Venezuela) to the obscure (unleashing a strategy that "aims to increase women's leadership in preventing conflicts and promoting security "),

" I don't know how anyone could see this summer as anything but successful as the president continues to deliver on his promises to the American people, despite the negative news for that administration, "Jud said Yes , White House spokesman, "President Trump has accomplished more at this point in his first term than any president in history, and his policies are building a safer, stronger, more secure America."

But some White House aides and non-Trump allies offer gloomy opinions describing the administration in which he is president is seen crashed through the remaining guard rails. The chief of staff is still in an "active" role and jobs that few assistants, when processed, are now filled by fewer staff and the president and his team have failed to deliver a sustainable message or take advantage of it which they consider to be victorious battles of economy and immigration.

A Republican operative in frequent contact with the White House describes the mood of "staff staff and girls" as one of fatigue. "Exhaustion, fatigue, wake us up when it's over," said the operative, who spoke on condition of anonymity to summarize the mood of the personal conversations. "They are just tired."

Dir rejected the suggestion that White House officials knew. "Yes, the days are long, but we are doing an incredible amount of work for the benefit of the American people under the leadership of this president," Deer said. "I just don't see people who are exhausted or unable to get the job done."

Summer, when Congress breaks in August, is traditionally a period where presidents try to take advantage of the relative quiet to set a daily order and trigger a favorable media story. Some of Trump's allies complain that he does not seize this opportunity to lay the groundwork for his 2020 campaign.

"Trump wasted an opportunity to improve his re-election campaign," writes Dan Eberhart, a Republican donor and CEO of Canary. "While Democrats are divided and focused on their core, President Trump could focus on resolving a trade war, a real infrastructure plan or a decisive foreign policy victory. Instead, he ignited the flames of the trade war, invaded Baltimore, the troop, and the Federal Reserve, and failed to add milestone to his election credentials in 2020.

Eberhart concluded, "As a Republican, you can all hope, that this will not collapse. "

But others have argued that, by virtue of his unconventional style, Trump is able to capture media spotlights whenever he wants, whether Congress is sitting. The president, they added, is someone who thrives in the face of chaos, and this summer has not felt demonstrably different from other periods of his presidency.

"Usually, the presidential number goes up in August because they have the same conditions for themselves and you don't have all those little chihuahuas that squeeze you in Congress, but Trump has always reached his tone," Scott Reed said , a senior political strategist at the US Chamber of Commerce.

It is unclear whether Trump will pay a political price for his controversy over the summer. The Washington Post's average of seven representative polls since August finds Trump's 41 percent rating, slightly lower than the June average of 43 percent in those polls.

Trump is not the first president to fall in the summer before his re-election campaign. Former President Barack Obama had a difficult summer in 2011 thanks to a passing debt ceiling with Congressional Republicans before jumping out to win a second term in 2012. Former President George W. Bush, suffering from the ongoing war in Iraq began to fall out in the summer of 2003, though it continued to win hand in 2004.

Trump bet on racial animus weeks, starting July 14 with his tweet that four colored congressional women should " to go back and help eliminate the completely broken crime "infected places from which they came. "Three congressional women were born in the United States and all four are U.S. citizens.

On July 27, he attacked Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, one of the highest-ranking black Democrats in Congress and called his Baltimore neighborhood" disgusting.

The first weekend of August, two mass shootings in less than 24 hours – one in El Paso and the other in Dayton – provided another test for the President. In El Paso, 22 people were killed in and near Walmart near the US-Mexico border after police She believes the alleged artillery officer has posted an online warning message about a "Spanish invasion" and mimicking some of Trump's fervent immigrant rhetoric. President Trump's visit to El Paso on August 7 (Jose Luis Gonzalez / Reuters)

The president raised more controversy the week after the massacre when he visited the two cities, but seemed insufficiently involved with many zine. After stopping in Dayton, he attacks city mayor Nan Waley and Ohio Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown. And in El Paso, he plunged into tragedy by boasting about the size of the crowd compared to Beto O-Rourke – the Democratic presidential candidate who had previously represented El Paso in Congress – and flashing thumbs in victim photos

Many Democrats hoped Trump could use the moment to carry out universal checks and other measures, but that prospect now seems less likely after the president retired under pressure from the National Rifle and other supporters the rights to arms. After another mass shooting in western Texas on Saturday that killed seven people, Trump said the event "really didn't change a thing."

Waley in an interview describes Trump's entire visit to Dayton as "weird. ". [19659034] "He thought it should be all about him, not the victims and the people who lost their lives, and that's where the focus is on us here," Wally said. "I prefer to just come in, show some empathy and just be honest and say, 'I'm not going to do anything because the NRA boys own me.

Rep. Veronica Escobar (D), whose area includes El Paso, was also critical of Trump's visit, saying it left her and many of her community disappointed.

"It was a moment that could be transformative, and instead it was a moment that was not just wasted, but a moment that left many in my community, including myself, feeling that we did not understand how it could ruin such a deep moment of grief, "Escobar says in an interview.

The Congresswoman added: "The President of the United States depopulated people of color and immigrants. ,,, He has an obligation to humanize. It takes more than showing. Dialogue with the community is needed. This is a real remorse. "

Emily Guskin contributed to this report.

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