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What on Earth does President Trump want?

Dana Milbank on

" -- and he's having the fish."

"I'll have that."

"Er, which one, sir?"

"Yes."

And pity the steward attempting to screen a film for the first family at the White House theater:

Ivanka Trump: "I want to see 'The Greatest Showman.'"

The president: "I agree."

Melania Trump: "Ooh, could we watch 'Paddington 2'?"

The president: "Perfect."

The Wall Street Journal's Peter Nicholas and Rebecca Ballhaus this last week offered a "How-To Guide" for winning over a president for whom "no case is ever settled." When Trump wanted to veto a bill containing sanctions against Russia, aides told him a veto override would make him look weak. He relented. When he was determined to crack down on trade, aides warned that such actions could hurt stock prices. He backed off. Aides have also employed stalling, "hoping he'll forget what he wanted done and move on to something else."

My favorite is Defense Secretary Jim Mattis's technique: "He says, 'Your instincts are absolutely correct,' and then gets him [Trump] to do the exact opposite of what his instincts say."

Maybe that's why the president often seems to be wearing the same red tie. If he had to choose, he might not leave his bedroom all day.

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Follow Dana Milbank on Twitter, @Milbank.

(c) 2018, Washington Post Writers Group


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