The new White House has given up on strategic patience when it comes to foreign affairs, but on domestic issues, President Trump seems to have nothing but time.
"Yeah, yeah sure, we have plenty of time, got a lot of time," Trump said in response to a question about whether the big, beautiful wall he so often promised on the campaign trail would get built before the end of his term. A fight over its funding has been pushed to the fall, and maybe into next year, as both the White House and Capitol Hill seek to avoid a partial government shutdown at the end of the week.
It's part of a broader pattern. Asked last week if there would be a healthcare vote by this coming Friday, Trump said it didn't matter.
"Doesn't matter if it's next week. Next week, doesn't matter," Trump said. "It'll happen. You'll see what happens."
Trump appeared open to delaying Obamacare repeal even further during a reception for conservative writers and reporters Monday evening.
"We could come back in September, but we'll see what we get now," the president said. Trump has dismissed appraisals of his first 100 days in office as "artificial," "not very meaningful" and "ridiculous."
But some of the Trump administration's allies are a bit more worried about the calendar, and fear time is already growing short.
"They don't really have four years," said a Republican strategist. "They really have about 10 months."
The reasoning behind this is that as the 2018 midterm elections approach, members of Congress will be even more reluctant to take hard votes on Obamacare, tax reform and other contentious issues because they will soon face the voters.
"If the Democrats win in 2018," the strategist continued, "the Trump administration is over," at least in terms of what it can accomplish legislatively.
This is what happened to former President Barack Obama. He scored big legislative victories with the stimulus and Obamacare early in his first term while he still had big Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress. Even with Democrats still in control, Obama had difficulty advancing other agenda items like immigration reform or cap and trade as 2010 beckoned.
Once Democrats lost control of the House later that year and Republicans retook the Senate in 2014, Obama's legislative agenda stalled. He had some bargains like the Budget Control Act, which he never enthusiastically supported, but was forced to rely on executive orders to do almost anything else.
Obama did get re-elected, however. Some Republicans are skeptical Trump could replicate that feat without delivering more for his supporters, because Obama could at least point to the passage of Obamacare and the stimulus.
Democrats would also gain new subpoena powers if they took over the House or Senate, allowing them to conduct more robust hearings on Trump's finances, potential conflicts of interest and Russian connections — all with more sympathetic media coverage than the Benghazi committee ever received.
The Trump administration and its outside supporters categorically deny that delays have become the norm. They point to Wednesday's coming announcement on tax reform. They argue that they have continued to make progress on Obamacare, getting important members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus as well as a key centrist lawmaker on board with the latest replacement plan, with an amendment that was released late Tuesday.
Nor does the White House concede it has budged on the border wall.
"There will be a wall built," press secretary Sean Spicer insisted at Tuesday's briefing. "Nothing has changed on the president's priorities."
Asked whether the wall funding was at least being delayed for now, Spicer shot back, "No, no. I never — no one said delayed."
This echoes what a senior White House official told the Washington Examiner last week. "There's going to be a wall — a big, physical barrier — over large swaths of the border," the official said. "And that's what the president is going to deliver on."
One activist who has been influential in conservative politics since the 1994 midterm elections swept Republicans to their first House majority in 40 years pinned the blame on Congress. "If you look at it, the president has done as much as he can do through executive power to deliver on his campaign promises," the activist said. "At some point, Republicans on Capitol Hill have to hold up their end of the bargain."
"They didn't seem to spend much time finding a [healthcare] proposal they had in reserve that was ready to launch if they prevailed in 2016," the conservative activist said.
For now, with the healthcare bill in the center of a fight between Republicans, it's become a game of hurry up and wait for both GOP lawmakers and Trump.
Sarah Westwood contributed to this report.