Not long before launching his presidential campaign, Donald Trump identified what he saw as his greatest strength. "Deals are my art form," the Republican boasted
. "Other people paint beautifully or write poetry. I like making deals, preferably big deals. That's how I get my kicks."
Many voters actually believed this. There was never any evidence that Trump actually excelled in negotiations or deal-making, but he kept talking about his expertise in a way that managed to persuade quite a few people.
The White House has only fed the hype. Sean Spicer bragged
this week, in reference to the president, "He is the closer." Kellyanne Conway added that the GOP's health care plan would pass because it enjoys Trump's "presidential leadership." She added
, "Some people suggested that he be the closer. Some people suggested that he be the lead-off batter."
It was, however, all nonsense. He started with an unrealistic promise to the nation that Trump would never be able to keep -- insurance for "everybody," which would be far better than the status quo, at a lower cost -- and he proceeded to break his commitments left and right. As the pressure mounted, the president further abandoned his own stated principles and effectively offered recalcitrant Republican all kinds of enticements, in exchange for nothing, which they discarded as pathetic.
Business Insider's Josh Barro, writing before the formal collapse of the American Health Care Act, explained
quite well that the GOP bill struggled "because Trump is a bad dealmaker."