On Thursday night, President Trump fired off a crude tweet about sexual harassment claims against Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and the photo of him posing with his hands over a sleeping woman's breasts — despite the clear echoes with Trump's own hot-mic confession to groping multiple women. On Sunday night and Monday morning, Trump tweeted that he should have left three black college basketball players in jail in China because one of their fathers had failed to thank him for interceding, criticized a black NFL player over an anthem protest, insulted Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and predicted he would vote against the Senate GOP tax bill, and suggested that China's punishment of 5-10 years in jail for shoplifting is "as it should be."
"What Trump may not realize — and what new data shows — is that he may be tweeting his way into losses in 2018 and 2020," Democratic strategist Jim Messina writes in Politico Magazine. Advisers during the campaign and lawyers in the early days of his administration tried to set parameters on Trump's Twitter habit, but "none of the advice seemed to have any lasting effect on a president who views acting on his own impulses as a virtue," reports Annie Karni at Politico. "And these days, the staff has basically stopped trying: There is no character inhabiting the West Wing who is dispatched to counsel the president when he aims the powerful weapon of his Twitter feed at himself."
The Franken tweet, while putting White House officials on the spot all weekend, isn't even among "the high-water marks of self-destructive Trump tweets," Karni says. A former Trump administration official said Trump's tweet-attacks are par for the course for a "White House with a sub-40 job approval rating with a tough midterm cycle ahead. It doesn't matter if there are vulnerabilities on their own side: They're going to take anything they can get." Or at least get it while he can.