President Donald Trump ended a Christmas Day phone call to troops overseas by complaining.
"It’s a disgrace what’s happening in this country," he said, "but other than that, I wish everybody a merry Christmas.”
Thus concluded what for some reason had become a harangue involving ex-FBI director James Comey. Whatever mental process led to it, Trump clearly had a case of the yuletide blues — and for good reason.
This has been quite a losing season for him.
Last month brought him a spectacular rebuke at the polls. Trump's Republican Party lost a House majority in the midterm elections. The president had suggested to rallygoers weeks earlier that the vote would, in a way, be about himself.
For two years, with both houses in firm GOP control, Trump failed to secure billions of budget dollars for his border wall. In a new push for $5 billion in wall funding, he made himself the owner of the most recent partial government shutdown, whose end is nowhere in sight. Ironically, the furloughed federal employees include border police.
"Many of those workers have said to me and communicated, ‘stay out until you get the funding for the wall,’" Trump said Tuesday.
Many? How many? Who? The president has made fishy claims before about what others purportedly told him in private.
Trump also said he "gave out a 115 mile long contract for another large section of the Wall in Texas." But for two days, nobody in the White House has explained what he was talking about.
Presidents don't "give out contracts." Perhaps he was been referring to border reinforcements previously funded.
Wall Street plunged in the meantime. Presidents do not control the stock market, but Trump demanded credit for its earlier rise. With the market headed toward its worst December since the Great Depression, Trump has blamed his own appointee Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve, for raising interest rates.
On Saturday, Trump bemoaned a lack of acclaim greeting his announcement that U.S. troops will soon depart Syria. "If anybody but your favorite President announced ... we were going to bring our troops back home (happy & healthy), that person would be the most popular hero in America," he tweeted.
Another loss landed at the president's door Friday when the Supreme Court, despite a 5-4 conservative majority, refused to reinstate his ban on asylum for immigrants who try to cross the southern border illegally.
This grim season has even seen Trump named in court papers as "Individual One."
Only two weeks ago, Trump's longtime personal attorney Michael Cohen was sentenced to 3 years in prison. The man who implicated Trump in a hush-money scandal said: “I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds.”
Special counsel Robert Mueller still hasn't wrapped up his multipronged, Russia-related investigation. Long-awaited answers about WikiLeaks, stolen data, son-in-law Jared Kushner's business interests, the Trump Tower Moscow project, and what defines obstruction of justice all still have the potential to threaten the viability of this presidency.
Maybe Trump's wall woes, legal embroilments and other worries all will clear up early in the new year.
That would, of course, require a post-holiday miracle.