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The Atlantic Politics Daily: The Limits of Trump's Go-To Defense

As impeachment continues, the president's strategy of villainizing opponents is getting harder—there may simply be too many to choose from. Plus, Fox and facts.

Here's just some of what people with a window into the 45th president's temperament of late have told Peter:

"He'd rather be tearing the head off a rooster than putting caviar on a cracker." —A former senior White House official

"He's not nature's best diplomat. He doesn't use a scalpel; he uses a meat ax." —A Republican senator

"These heavy issues are weighing on him. He has nobody around him. There's nobody." —A person close to Trump

"What he's done is conflated himself with America. He's physically hugged the flag, but he's also done that in his mind. If you attack him, you're attacking America. You're unpatriotic. 'It's very bad for our country!'" — Seth Norrholm, a neuroscientist who studies stress, anxiety, and trauma

—Saahil Desai


The Atlantic Politics Daily: The Limits of Trump’s Go-To Defense


Reactions to the impeachment hearings stuck to an expected pattern. How did Fox News, still by all accounts the president's favorite TV network, cover them?

Read Megan Garber's full essay.

Speaking of Fox News: Ron Brownstein explores the factors that have so solidified Trump's GOP support.

Read Ron's full analysis.

Meanwhile, Democrats could clear some of the GOP's smokescreen by simply calling Hunter Biden in to testify, David Graham argues.

Read David's full argument.




October was a devastating month for America's Kurdish partners in Syria, and an alarming one for other American allies, who got a real-time glimpse into what America-first foreign policy looks like in practice:

Read Uri Friedman's full story.



The United States has traditionally styled itself as a force for stability in the world, but this New York Times dispatch from Kyiv shows the extent to which a politically dysfunctional America now looks like a source of instability overseas. French President Emmanuel Macron made a similar point in a recent interview with The Economist, arguing that Europe needs to provide for its own defense.—Uri Friedman, a staff writer on our national-security team