Ending a male friendship is always tricky. Do you call him and say you don’t want to hang out anymore? Or do you just stop answering his texts, hoping he forgets you exist while you keep living your dang life? Tough call, right?
If you’re Donald Trump and you’re trying to break up with Vladimir Putin, you launch 59 cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield that also hosts a Russian military base.
The strike came in the wake of a sarin gas attack allegedly carried out by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad that killed 86 people, including 27 children. Trump warned Russia that a retaliatory attack on Syria’s Shayrat airfield was going to take place, but that didn’t stop the Kremlin from declaring the move an “act of aggression in violation of international law.” Russia also announced the suspension of an agreement that established communication between Russia and America in order to avoid airborne confrontations over Syria as U.S forces battle ISIS.
Now, a bunch of embarassing Twitter types are claiming the U.S.’s missile strike was somehow coordinated by Trump and Putin. That’s a nice thought—comforting even, in that it assumes our Commander in Chief is a shrewd manipulator capable of pulling geopolitical strings only he and master strategist Steve Bannon can see. What’s more likely is that Trump saw people calling him weak and decided it was a good time to spend half a billion dollars to prove them wrong.
Let’s assume that Trump didn’t suddenly become savvy and that all the statements made between the countries should be taken at face value. Let’s also assume that Bannon has indeed been staggering around the White House calling Jared Kushner a cuck at every opportunity, as has been reported.
Together, it suggets that the tides are turning against Bannon, who reportedly opposed the air strike because it doesn’t fit his hyper-nationalist agenda. The Failing New York Times, too, says Breitbart’s former chief may be on the outs with the president. After all, he did just get pulled from the National Security Council.
So where does that leave Trump? He’s pretty much alienated the moderate Tuesday Group and the Freedom Caucus in the House. Meanwhile, the Senate has no clarity on a legislative agenda beyond appointing Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. The only wingman Trump seems to have left is son-in-law Jared Kushner, whose only experience is in developing pricey office buildings in SoHo. Kushner may not have even been great at that; a recent attempt to cut a sweetheart deal with a Chinese bank to rescue a foundering Kushner development at 666 5th Avenue fell through after critics decried obvious conflicts of interest.
On Kushner’s plate already are several insurmountable tasks: making the government run more like a business; reforming criminal justice; liaising with Mexico, China and the Muslim community; achieving peace in the Middle East. That’s quite a lot of responsibility for someone whose most notable accomplishment is having married Ivanka. All of this paints a picture of a man now isolated in the Oval Office, his only confidants having deserted him and the rest having been excommunicated. His companions now are Kushner, cable news and a bathrobe nobody will admit he even owns. No wonder he’s always golfing.