Tuesday night in Phoenix, Donald Trump put what really should be the final nail in the coffin of the beltway punditry's quaint belief that anytime the man reads off a teleprompter without foaming at the mouth that he's finally at the pivot, that he's becoming presidential. Case in point: the man threatened to shut down his own government if he doesn't get his border wall.
"If we have to close down our government, we're building that wall," he said. "We're going to have our wall. The American people voted for immigration control. We're going to get that wall."
So, yeah. That's not normal. Neither is the prolonged rant he spewed against the two Republican senators from his host state, one of whom just happens to be undergoing treatment for brain cancer at the moment. His rant on Sen. John McCain—the "one vote" that stood in his way on Obamacare repeal—segued into a full-on attack on the Senate that won't just give him everything he wants.
At another point, the president demanded again that the Senate ditch the legislative filibuster, complaining that the 60-vote threshold is impeding his agenda. (The Obamacare repeal legislation needed only 50 votes, though Trump noted there are other provisions that need 60 votes that he would like to enact.)
Intentional or not, the renewed call was a barb at McConnell, who has repeatedly said the Senate GOP has no appetite for scrapping the filibuster.
"For our friends in the Senate, oh boy. The Senate, we have to get rid of what's called the filibuster rule,” Trump said. “If we don't the Republicans will never get anything passed. Eight Democrats are controlling all of this legislation."
Oh, Politico. You think it wasn't intentional? You think Trump wasn't ratcheting up his feud with McConnell? This is going to continue as long as he doesn't get his way. He's promising it.
After Tuesday night’s performance—highlighted by his attack on McCain—that’s not going to happen.