What on Earth does President Trump want?
The president's mixed messages, more than anything, are what brought the government to the brink of a shutdown. The issues involved -- protections for the "dreamer" immigrants, the CHIP program and higher military spending -- generally enjoy a broad bipartisan consensus.
A plaintive Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, essentially threw up his hands over immigration talks this last week: "I'm looking for something that President Trump supports, and he's not yet indicated what measure he's willing to sign. As soon as we figure out what he is for, then I will be convinced that we were not just spinning our wheels."
His statement was a gentler way of expressing the quote attributed to (and contested by) former deputy chief of staff Katie Walsh in Michael Wolff's book "Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House" that working with Trump "was like trying to figure out what a child wants."
The president began the immigration negotiations by telling lawmakers he would sign whatever compromise they worked out, as long as it had a border-security component and a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, component for the dreamers.
"My positions are going to be what the people in this room come up with," Trump said, two days before rejecting such a bipartisan compromise.
If McConnell and Kelly have it rough, imagine the poor White House waiter taking Trump's order:
"And what will you be having, sir?"
"My order is going to be what the people at this table come up with."
"Well, sir, she's having the steak -- "
"I'll have that."