That was an interesting Super Bowl. Atlanta was up big at the half, then the Patriots found a way to claw their way back and win in overtime. It was interesting seeing the political angle people assigned to it. Some white supremacists like Richard Spencer said the Patriots were the white team, so a lot of liberals were rooting for the majority black Atlanta. I see it differently. I see a blue state with their back against the wall, against all odds, with nothing going their way. I see a blue state that got to work, found a way to fight back, and ultimately score a victory. Politics aside, you can’t let a team score, what, 31 points unanswered? A team that allows that is going to lose.

Which brings us to Trump.

It’s Monday morning, so both sides scramble to dominate the news cycle for the day. What’s Trump talking about this morning?

  1. Negative polls are fake news.
  2. Remember the election? The polls were wrong.
  3. People want the ban and the wall.
  4. I call my own shots, fake news is trying to marginalize me.
  5. NYTimes is failing, they’re always wrong, and they’re making things up.

Ok, so here are the answers to each:

  1. The polling averages are pretty consistent. He’s unpopular.
  2. The polls predicted Hillary’s margin, about 2% more than Trump. She still lost, it’s true. But the polls predicted it, especially after Comey.
  3. Neither the wall nor ban have over 50% approval.
  4. Maybe he calls his own shots. But there were a lot of sources.
  5. NYTimes is making less money but has more subscribers than ever.

What was he responding to? A pretty damning NYT article that claimed, amongst other things, that Trump wasn’t even fully aware of the executive order naming Bannon to his national security council spot. The article paints the administration as wanting to move fast and boldly, but having a lot of trouble figuring out how things work, and should work, in a well run White House. There are also ample references to how Trump is displeased with how things are going.

What’s notable about this story is how it could goad Trump into taking over more of a lead in his own White House. I’m not saying he’d fire Bannon, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s thinking of a way to stop Bannon’s reputation as being the true power of this administration. The quickest way to do that would be to fire Bannon, of course. And who knows, after Bannon wrote the executive order that enshrined his power, and possibly drew the ire of Trump, maybe Bannon’s in the dog house this morning?

More and more people are wondering why Trump can’t say anything negative about Putin. Notably people on the right, like Bill O’Reilly. Trump is being pretty transparent about how he feels about Putin, regardless of everything that’s happened. If he had a little more guile, he’d throw us a head fake. But at this point it looks like he wants to be best friends with Putin. I bet he even wants to give him a format State invitation.

Maybe Trump three weeks ago would have considered it. But Trump on February 6th seems to be tired of getting stung by all his troubles in the press. The NYT article claims the administration wants to put things on a more even keel. Which might mean listening to others a little more. Trump clearly is obsessed with his polls, so he has the ability to listen. But can he hear what everyone’s saying? Can he course correct?

This morning news came out that said the UK will not let Donald Trump speak in Parliament. May can invite the president, of course, but Parliament has its own jurisdiction, and they said Trump’s racism and sexism has no place in their walls. If this weren’t Trump, we’d call this a stunning rebuke. But it’s Trump, so his fans will use this as proof that everyone wants him to fail. And his detractors will say “good.”

Which is an interesting dynamic we’re seeing emerge. This administration can’t play offense. They’re constantly putting out fires, complaining they’re not getting fair treatment, and wondering why they’re unpopular. Meanwhile, the left has no formal power, but their voices are continuing to be loud and influential.

(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/most-americans-think-trump-is-meeting-their-expectationsus58951a2be4b04061313715b5) An article this weekend said most people think Trump is living up to their expectations. Which sounds good, except it’s not. 42% think he’s meeting expectations in a positive way, and 3% say he’s exceeding expectations. On the other hand, 35% say he’s as bad as they thought and 17% said he’s worse than they feared. (http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2017/images/02/03/rel2a.-.trump.pdf)

3% think he’s doing better than they expected. 17% think he’s doing even worse than they feared. Yikes. So for every 1 person thinking “Go Donald!” he has over 5 people thinking “I already knew I didn’t like him, but this is ridiculous.”

//

Trump spoke to CENTCOM today, and it was the same story that we’re getting used to. He bragged about himself. He said the media is unfair. He said he’s going to do a great job, and he didn’t provide specifics. Ok.

The biggest issue right now, by far, is how things are looking on the ninth court of appeals. I’m getting a bit lost in the back and forth, but so far it looks like this:

  1. Trump signed his order.
  2. WA AG pushed back.
  3. WA judge agreed, ordered a stop to the ban.
  4. A bunch of companies are joining the case.
  5. Now we see what happens next.

//

There are reports that Kellyanne Conway was passed over on the Sunday talk shows. It was initially reported by CNN. Kellyanne pushed back and called it false. CNN doubled down by calling it the “facts.” Interesting that the word “facts” can now be considered throwing shade. And as that was happening, the Morning Joe piped up and said CNN was not the first time this has happened.

Kellyanne had a really tough week, between inventing a massacre and being disallowed from joining the Sunday talk shows. She’s still on TV, of course. But her credibility is taking a big hit. If history is any guide, that means Trump is going to double down on her. As long as she stays loyal.

I analyze the Trump presidency, then share the essays 90 days later, like a time capsule.