Pictured is part of the ceiling of one of the enclosed ramparts at Fort Zachary Taylor, which is located in Key West. Shown is some unusual erosion in the ceiling’s brickwork. Normally, the mortar around the bricks erodes first, but in this instance the reverse has occurred, the bricks have eroded, leaving raised rings of mortar still standing around each one. Fort Taylor, once a 19th-century coastal fortification, is now a state park. So, what we see here is a situation where the center has rotted-out first, leaving just a crumbling shell. I offer this oddity as segue to a discussion of our current administration’s plight.
Roiled since its inception, President Trump’s Whitehouse is now facing daily defections. This soap opera has played out accompanied by the steady drumbeat of the Russian investigation. Trump’s lashing out in frustration on Twitter serves only as counterpoint, but recently a new wobble has developed. First there was DACA and then gun control, in both cases Trump had first publicly adopted a position counter to GOP orthodoxy, only then to retreat in the face of blowback.
Now, he has moved on to tariffs. Yesterday, he proposed new tariffs on metals. The markets immediately panicked. Next week’s deadline for implementation allows plenty of time for this latest self-inflicted crisis to dominate the news and then generate opposition, before it also cravenly slinks away. However, unlike guns or DACA, which both required congressional cooperation to succeed, Trump can impose these tariff unilaterally. Always on the hunt for a win, no matter what, he might just pursue his course and let the world be damned.