Keeping Up with the Trump Administration Is a Full-Time Job

Allen Smith, J.D. By Allen Smith, J.D. March 13, 2018

​Gloria Borger, chief political analyst for CNN

​The ups and downs in a day in the life of a reporter covering a president could rival that of an HR professional's.

Washington, D.C., is "reeling from day to day," said Gloria Borger, chief political analyst for CNN, at the 2018 Society for Human Resource Management Employment Law & Legislative Conference on March 13 in Washington, D.C.

Each day brings a surprising new development, such as during Borger's presentation, when attendees' mobile devices lit up with the news that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had been fired.

A member of the conference audience alerted Borger to the news after she'd run through a litany of momentous developments that had happened just last week. "Thanks for alerting the media," Borger joked.

She noted that "Saturday Night Live" once parodied her saying: "This is not normal." But she said these times really are not business as usual.

Just One Week at CNN

Each day something happens in D.C. that leaves Borger amazed, she said.

On Monday, March 5, on live TV, Sam Nunberg, a former aide to President Donald Trump, said he'd never testify before Robert Mueller, the special counsel who is spearheading the investigation into whether Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election and whether the Trump campaign was involved in such interference, she noted.

The following Tuesday, Gary Cohn quit as the White House's chief economic advisor. On the same day, Stormy Daniels, a porn actress, filed a lawsuit against Trump, seeking permission to talk publicly about her alleged affair with him despite a so-called "hush agreement" in the amount of $130,000 paid in 2016.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the next day, Wednesday, that the allegations were not true, and that there was private arbitration between the two that the president had won. How did the president win anything, Borger asked, if, as he claims, he didn't know her?

Then on Thursday, the president announced—to the surprise of everyone, including Congress—trade tariffs, she said. Thursday night, he popped into the White House press room and said there would be big news, Borger noted. Soon followed the announcement that Trump would meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Friday wrapped up with Nunberg cancelling an interview with Borger so that he could testify before Mueller's grand jury after all.

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This week hasn't been atypical of the Trump presidency, Borger noted, or of his 2016 campaign.

And yet what made him successful as a presidential candidate—thwarting the parties and institutions—has hindered him in D.C., she said.

Resistance to Trump on Capitol Hill

Republicans on Capitol Hill haven't fully embraced Trump, even though Republicans now control the White House, Senate and House of Representatives, she said.

"Republicans are loyal to constituents more than [they are to] the president," she said, describing most Republicans as adhering to a conservative ideology. "Donald Trump believes in winning, not ideology," so many Republicans don't trust him.

But wins have been tougher to get as president than as a CEO, according to Borger, citing the failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Although Trump has a loyal base of supporters, he has a low approval rating and lacks enough popularity on Capitol Hill to forge agreement on such controversial issues as the ACA.

Tax reform was a win for the president but she attributed that to Republicans on Capitol Hill building their own political networks.

2018 Midterm Elections

Borger predicted that the Democrats may retake the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections and said there could be a "load of trouble" for the president if that happens, including hearings on Russia. But she didn't think the Democrats would retake the Senate.

Borger also criticized the Democrats as "not having a message beyond being anti-Trump."


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