He tells people they're fired. He takes no prisoners. And, of course, he cuts the best deals. Well, at least, that's the way President Trump used to do business on television.
Since coming to Washington, Trump has discovered that business practices are distinct from political skill. In the future, biographers looking for a cliché might describe his administration as the drawn-out death of a salesman.
"If you look to Obama and George W., they were on the road doing the roadshow, selling their policies in rallies, driving the news media," Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., told the Washington Examiner hours before the bill died in the Senate. "As good as Trump's doing on the stump, he's doing one every two weeks. That's not enough."
To be sure, the buck doesn't stop with the president on the healthcare failure. That belongs with the Republican establishment who, for seven years, promised that repealing and replacing Obamacare was around the corner. But there's still something to that Duffy critique.
Trump absolutely could have done more to sell the healthcare bill before it collapsed like the Hindenburg during the wee hours of Friday morning. A few tweets, a couple off-the-cuff comments, and some lunch dates aren't going to get his agenda to the finish line. What's needed is a policy roadshow that allows Trump to be Trump, that allows the president to play to his strength outside of the Beltway and across the country.
That's no knock against a political newcomer, though. It's advice for the next time around. "He should be doing two rallies a week to talk about the policy," Duffy argues, pointing out that, after all, "Trump is the one with the bully pulpit."
By now, the White House has heard this dozens of times. A longtime Trump ally and Reince Priebus confidant, Duffy says he's even made that suggestion only to receive "a little pushback." After half a year of logjams, one wonders if they're reconsidering. On Friday, the Trump campaign announced a new Aug. 3 rally in West Virginia, and for beleagured Republicans, that's welcome news.
Indeed, it's time to put the president on the road again.
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.