At his six-month mark as president, Peggy Noonan writes that Donald Trump is being tripped up by the very trait that helped bring him to office. He's a "freelancer," she writes in the Wall Street Journal. That is, he's not an "institution man," and he doesn't appear much interested in learning how the institution of DC operates. The latest GOP failure on an ObamaCare replacement proves the point: Trump seemed unfamiliar with policy details and unwilling or unable to do the thing presidents are supposed to do: "gently knock heads together" to reach a final deal.
The problem for Trump is that "presidential leadership involves being to some degree an institution man, upholding not only a presidency but a government, even its other branches." Trump and his top aides don't seem to get this, however, which not only makes future legislative failures inevitable but could eventually turn diehard supporters against him. Even they will realize that "baseline political competence" is needed, writes Noonan. "If the president continues to show he doesn't have the toolbox for this job, he's going to go from not gaining support, which is where he is now, to losing support," she concludes. "He's not magic and they're not stupid." Click for the full column.