Trump’s season of weakness: A president who prizes strength enters key stretch in a fragile state

President Trump, whose paramount concern long has been showing strength, has entered the most challenging stretch of his term, weakened on virtually every front and in danger of being forced from office as the impeachment inquiry intensifies.

Trump now finds himself mired in a season of weakness. Foreign leaders feel emboldened to reject his pleas or to contradict him. Officials inside his administration are openly defying his wishes by participating in the impeachment probe. Federal courts have ruled against him. Republican lawmakers are criticizing him. He has lost control over major conservative media organs. Polling shows that Americans increasingly disapprove of his job performance and support his impeachment.

Many of Trump’s Republican allies revolted over his decision to withdraw U.S. troops in Syria, which triggered a bloody Turkish invasion that killed Kurdish fighters and civilians.

Trump bragged about sending a “very powerful letter” warning Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan not to invade Syria. “Don’t be a fool!” Trump wrote. But Turkish officials leaked word that their leader had thrown the letter in the trash, and Erdogan then took Trump to task for his “lack of respect.”

“Are we so weak, and so inept diplomatically, that Turkey forced the hand of the United States of America? Turkey?” Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah), the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee, said in a speech Thursday denouncing Trump’s Syria decision as “a bloodstain in the annals of American history.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wrote an op-ed criticizing the pullout, a rare rebuke of Trump.

Article URL : https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trumps-season-of-weakness-a-president-who-prizes-strength-enters-key-stretch-in-a-fragile-state/2019/10/19/0daa864c-f1d4-11e9-89eb-ec56cd414732_story.html

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