As the blame game launches on the Senate health-care bill, there is perhaps no more illustrative example of President Trump's role in the negotiations than this:
It's Monday evening. A second version of the Republicans' bill is in danger of flatlining. Two GOP senators are opposed to it, almost a dozen have expressed serious concerns with it, and if just one more Republican opposes it, it's game over for an Obamacare overhaul.
Trump is having dinner at the White House with seven Republican senators to talk health care. Of the seven, only Steve Daines (Mont.) had publicly expressed concerns about the bill.
As they dined, fellow Republican Sens. Mike Lee (Utah) and Jerry Moran (Kan.) were crafting statements that would implode the GOP's attempts to unravel Obamacare for the foreseeable future.
That Trump was completely blindsided by the news that the bill was effectively dead shows, despite his rhetoric on Twitter and in public appearances, how unable or unwilling Trump has been to influence the outcome of the health-care debate.
The "great businessman" chose to dine with people who he felt were loyal, rather than working to convince those who still had concerns about the bill.
He's never actually done anything with health care policy. He made it clear that he'd sign anything which was brought to him, regardless of his promises, and he didn't bother to learn enough about the bill to try to get the support of Congress. Worst of all, he made no effort to talk to the members who were undecided, and Pence's attempt with the governors was laughable. And it bit him in the ass.
It's quite possible that nobody could have helped guide the GOP Congress to an agreement, but someone with leadership qualities and actual capability for the job would have at least had a shot. And that person might have been given a heads up if it failed, out of respect.