When people - including political allies - feel comfortable defying the president, it's both a sign of his weakness and a cause of further weakness.

It means others have decided he's on the wrong side of public opinion. And it becomes easier for new critics to emerge.

Consider the list of people who've defied President Trump in recent weeks:

* Lindsey Graham and other Senate Republicans refused to back Trump's choice of a new federal prosecutor in New York.

* Trump's former national security adviser called him a “danger for the republic."
* Trump's former defense secretary said he was trying to make a mockery of the Constitution.
* Trump’s top military adviser publicly apologized for participating in a photo op with him.

* A federal judge rejected Trump’s request to block the release of the John Bolton book.
* The Supreme Court blocked Trump’s effort to end a signature Obama immigration policy.
* The NFL commissioner effectively abandoned Trump's position on player protests.

* And several Trump-friendly commentators — at The Wall Street Journal, Breitbart and elsewhere — have said his responses to the virus and police violence are hurting his chances of re-election.

None of this means Trump will lose. He could mount a fall comeback, as Truman in '48, GHW Bush in '88 and others did. But sustained weakness is a very dangerous thing for a politician.

Today's newsletter: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/22/briefing/trump-coronavirus-bubba-wallace-your-monday-briefing.html

You can follow @DLeonhardt.
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