Trump has, since taking office, consistently referred to Republicans as though he is not one himself—it's invariably “they” or “them.” Unlike past presidents of his party, Trump entered the White House with few personal relationships with prominent Republicans: donors, lobbyists, party activists, politicians. This liberated him to say whatever he pleased as a candidate, and, by firing Priebus, Trump might feel similarly liberated. The fear now, among Republicans in his administration and on Capitol Hill, is that Trump will turn against the party, waging rhetorical warfare against a straw-man GOP whom he blames for the legislative failures and swamp-stained inertia that has bedeviled his young presidency. It would represent a new, harsher type of triangulation, turning his base against the politicians of his own party that they elected.
Things have not yet escalated to that point. But some, including officials in his own administration, took the dismissal of Priebus as a signal that Trump is willing to go rogue against the GOP. Only a day after announcing Kelly as his new chief of staff, the president let loose on Twitter, calling out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for not changing the Senate’s filibuster rules and saying Republicans “look like fools” for not doing so. He also tweeted that Democrats are “laughing at” the GOP. In a final taunt, Trump tweeted that Republican senators would be “total quitters” if they move on from health care following last week’s failed repeal vote.
More and more, Trump talks as though there are Democrats and Republicans—and him, a party of one. If unchecked, this poses an existential threat to the GOP. But it’s not Priebus’ problem anymore. He is officially unemployed. And with a few weeks of summer vacation remaining, chances are that he—along with his wife and two young children—will soon be on an airplane, heading someplace where no reporter will be waiting to ask him about Donald Trump.
Anybody who hitches his or her wagon to this walking disaster is an utter fool and deserves his or her fate.