President Trump is a terrible political dealmaker. This week proved it.

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President Trump is a terrible political dealmaker. This week proved it.

After nearly two years in the Oval Office, Donald Trump – the businessman who pitched himself to voters as “a great dealmaker” – still doesn’t know how to close deals with Congress.

In order to avert a government shutdown Friday, it now looks like this Republican-controlled House will soon follow the Senate’s lead and pass a funding bill that bypasses the president and his demands for a border wall altogether, while merely punting the debate into the new year, when Democrats take control of the House.

Throughout the fall, the president vowed to shutter the government if he didn’t get a $5 billion downpayment on his wall, but now he’ll head down to Mar-a-Lago having not delivered a promise made to his base. While the president knows his audience when he threatens shutdowns, he just doesn’t know the difference between marketing and negotiating.

“I think his lack of grasp of some of the essentials — of the substance — has hurt a little bit,” former Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) told VICE News. “I think the problem is he freelances.”

It didn’t help that the president tossed around false or misleading figures throughout the negotiations, which seems to have made it harder for Republicans to rally around him. “He’s a great marketer,” Davis said. “I think he understands the macro of this very, very well, and that is: His base wants a wall.”

After nearly two years in the Oval Office, Donald Trump – the businessman who pitched himself to voters as “a great dealmaker” – still doesn’t know how to close deals with Congress.

In order to avert a government shutdown Friday, it now looks like this Republican-controlled House will soon follow the Senate’s lead and pass a funding bill that bypasses the president and his demands for a border wall altogether, while merely punting the debate into the new year, when Democrats take control of the House.

Throughout the fall, the president vowed to shutter the government if he didn’t get a $5 billion downpayment on his wall, but now he’ll head down to Mar-a-Lago having not delivered a promise made to his base. While the president knows his audience when he threatens shutdowns, he just doesn’t know the difference between marketing and negotiating.

“I think his lack of grasp of some of the essentials — of the substance — has hurt a little bit,” former Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) told VICE News. “I think the problem is he freelances.”

It didn’t help that the president tossed around false or misleading figures throughout the negotiations, which seems to have made it harder for Republicans to rally around him. “He’s a great marketer,” Davis said. “I think he understands the macro of this very, very well, and that is: His base wants a wall.”

But when it comes to the actual details of deal making, Trump keeps falling short.

Take the GOP’s sweeping tax overhaul: The president wanted desperately to get rid of the carried interest loophole that critics say gives the wealthy an extra tax break, but it’s still there. He promised to completely do away with the so-called death tax, but it, too, is still intact, even if it now applies only to the super rich. Both ideas were rejected by negotiators from his own party.

Read: Even Republicans are getting tired of misinformation out of the White House

On the campaign trail, the president also vowed his repeal and replace of Obamacare would protect health coverage for millions, though the GOP bill that fell one vote short in the Senate would have stripped coverage from more than 20 million Americans, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Trump’s poor negotiating skills have also been on display in foreign policy, where critics say his NAFTA revamp isn’t all that different from the old one. And his historic meeting with North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un amounted to to a mere photo-op where America got little more than vague promises in exchange for the huge PR win for the isolated regime.

Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi rolled all over Trump in this round, and she’s unlikely to cave once her party is actually back in power in the House. That doesn’t bode well for Trump’s purported acumen as the best negotiator the world has ever known.

“He’s the anti Theodore Roosevelt: Speak loudly and carry a very small stick,” Stan Collender, an author and former congressional budget staffer, told VICE News. “Congress isn’t taking him seriously.”

And now, with government funding, Republicans on Capitol Hill are still walking on eggshells because as Trump retreats from his demand for a wall they still don’t know if he’ll support what GOP leaders send him.

“I don’t know exactly what he would sign, but I think we’re getting closer to finding that out,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) told VICE News on Tuesday.

Read: Trump is listening to right-wingers who think a shutdown would be totally awesome

Congress has already passed long-term funding bills for 75 percent of the government, and the only thing holding up the remaining portion is Trump’s wall, which hasn’t won the president much love at the Capitol, even from his allies who support the wall but would rather fully fund the government at new levels.

“It’s disappointing,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told VICE News. “We were very close from being able to finish out the budget process — the appropriations process — around here.”

Now the Senate has taken the lead and passed a short-term funding bill that will avert a shutdown until the new Congress is seated in the new year.

“It’s not ideal. It’s not perfect,” Rubio continued. “It’s not what anybody around here wanted, but it might be the only route available.”

Even the head of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) didn’t know what the president wanted at the start of this week as fear of a shutdown grew as Democrats repeatedly rebuffed his demands last week and again this week.

“We’re not sure,” Shelby told VICE News. “I think he’s more fluid than he was.”

The president did help usher a bipartisan prison reform bill through the Senate, but his son-in-law Jared Kushner did all the negotiating and the president merely used Twitter to put pressure on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring it up.

So now the House is preparing to pass a Continuing Resolution (known as a CR) that will merely keep the unfunded agencies at their previous spending levels, which no one likes to do. All this does is punt the real debate over the wall into next year.

“The CR allows them to postpone and give them until January and have the fight then rather than have it two days before Christmas which is probably a good idea,” Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) told reporters at the Capitol. “The ending is being delayed.”

That means we’ll all be back to square one in January, even as lawmakers on the Hill had hoped to put this debate behind them for the foreseeable future.

Cover: U.S. President Donald Trump leads a roundtable discussion on school safety and the new Federal Commission on School Safety report, with family members of shooting victims, state and local officials, in the Roosevelt Room on December 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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