Not so long ago U.S. President Donald Trump and Senator Rand Paul were at war. Here was Mr. Paul's gently worded assessment at the start of 2016. "Donald Trump is a delusional narcissist and an orange-faced windbag." This was after Mr. Trump had called Mr. Paul, among other niceties, "a spoiled brat without a properly functioning brain."
So what are they doing now? They're golfing together. They've put aside the defamations. The shots they take are on the links.
Then there's Senator Lindsey Graham who in 2015 called Mr. Trump a "jackass." He was only getting started. In an interview later that year, he added that le grand orange was "a race-baiting, xenophobic, religious bigot." As recently as the Charlottesville racial violence, the two of them were still spitting insults at one another.
What are they doing now? Same. Yukking it up on the golf course. Good buddies.
Then there's Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell. Mr. Trump initially ranked him as one of Washington's leading swamp creatures. He then publicly disparaged the Kentuckian for failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
And now? "We're probably now closer than ever before," said the President on Oct. 16, while on Capitol Hill dining with other lawmakers he has maligned. "My relationship with this gentleman is outstanding."
Outstanding? Hardly, but getting better as are many Trump relationships. He has absorbed the insults of others and they have absorbed his and they're moving on.
If it all doesn't quite fit the Trump template as the thin-skinned grudge bearer running an unhinged administration, it shouldn't. The template is incomplete. There are other elements of the Trump character, ones that could make his presidency more enduring than many imagine.
This is a President who – never mind for a moment his own record as calumny king – has been pilloried in his first year probably more than any president before him. Every disparaging adjective imaginable – many of them warranted – has been used to describe his unsuitability for the office. There's been a daily torrent from the media, scholars, women, Hollywood, Democrats, Republicans and the likes of his own Secretary of State, who reportedly called him a moron.
In the face of it all, we haven't seen Donald Trump break or bend, cower or blink. It's a degree of resilience that needs be noted. This President can take a punch, a thousand of them. He withstands the bombardment and pounds his way forward. He can be spiteful but, as with the aforementioned cases, is sometimes capable of setting grudges aside.
Resilience has been a hallmark of the Trump career. That and luck. Nothing brings him down. Not his bankruptcy, his other business failings, his legal wars or his personal life traumas.
Self-confidence is what makes you tough and the overarchingly arrogant Mr. Trump brims with that quality. Advisers are trying to harness him, get him to pick his spots. They know the stallion in the stall can't always be reined in. But there is a sense of some progress. Lindsey Graham, for one, sees him as maturing in the job, becoming more sober-minded.
You'd never know it from his handling of the dispute over the offering of condolences to fallen military personnel. By contrast there was his surprising restraint in the face of criticism of his performance last week by former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Mr. Trump must have been sorely tempted to fire back, particularly at Mr. Bush, who historians rank as one of the worst presidents ever. But he held off.
I got a close look at him in the White House rose garden on Monday as he made remarks with the visiting leader of Singapore. Mr. Trump appeared, as he normally does, bristling with energy. His eyes shifted, warily sometimes, threateningly others. Every so often, he stuck forward his chin with a look of defiance. As if to say, "Go ahead and hit me with all you've got. Won't work. I've got the power. I'll use it."
Some think the weight of the Oval Office is wearing him down. It didn't look like it. Not even close.