(CNN)President Donald Trump began and ended his 70th day in office like so many others before it -- with a smattering of frustrated tweets.
This week, Donald Trump neither made friends nor influenced people on Capitol Hill
With Democrats united against him on the left and his new rift with conservatives on the right, the number of lawmakers Trump has to make a majority and pass meaningful legislation is small and getting smaller.
On this occasion, his primary target was the House Freedom Caucus, a bloc of conservatives Trump blames for derailing his and the Republican leadership's deeply unpopular Obamacare overhaul. "We must fight them," he wrote in the morning, if they don't fall in line ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. By dinnertime, he was after it again, this time naming names.
Trump also used the early message to call out Democrats, in the process writing off more than half of the Congress as potential allies.
Thursday's day-long eruption was vintage Trump -- an intemperate character hellbent on winning every fight. We met him during the campaign and he's been with us ever since. Not the GOP nomination, nor victory on Election Day, has dulled his taste for conflict.
But even if Trump himself is loathe to change, his ecosystem has. The congressmen he called out on Thursday evening are not going anywhere. They come from the reddest of red districts. Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan didn't face primary challenges and won their general election races by 28 and 36 points, respectively. Raul Labrador had two primary opponents. They combined for a fifth of the vote. He won in November with more than 68% of it. Trump did not do quite so well in those districts.
Explaining to CNN's Lauren Fox why he opposed Trump's health care bill, Meadows said simply, "It is certainly a bill that does not do what we promised. For my district, it is not better than the current system."
Beyond the familiar stir, the Thursday tweets also highlighted a fundamental difficulty facing the new administration. Trump is neither a natural partisan nor is he ideological. His lack of a coherent political worldview allowed him run roughshod over a GOP primary field that consigned itself to various lanes of conservatism. But what the Obamacare mess made clear -- or should have -- is that Capitol Hill, where ideologues like the Freedom Caucus crew have outsize influence and job security, will be a tougher nut to crack.
From the Manhattan construction scene to the tabloids and reality television "boardroom," Trump has always placed his faith and fortune in "winning." It is not a means to an end -- it is the end. Facing tough questions about his actions or decisions, top aides like Kellyanne Conway will pivot to his victory in 2016, framing it as validation for all that follows.
Asked last week by a Time magazine reporter about his credibility, Trump landed on this: "Hey look, in the meantime, I guess, I can't be doing so badly, because I'm president, and you're not."
But for the Freedom Caucus and Democrats, the calculus tends to be a little more complicated. Both want to win, of course, but their definitions are considerably narrower. The same tools that Trump used to bludgeon Republicans on the primary circuit are increasingly handicapping his efforts now. The ability to stay nimble on the trail is a treasure; on Capitol Hill it invites suspicion.
Candidate Trump's habitually vague promises -- "We will have so much winning if I get elected that you may get bored with the winning!" -- have come with him to the White House, where his initial pitch to replace Obamacare with "something terrific" has taken on different forms, but never substantively matured. At least not enough to win over voters, with some 17% approving of the American Health Care Act, according to a Quinnipiac poll released days before its demise.
But as much as Trump pines for and celebrates Oval Office signing ceremonies, delivering on his fundamental promise to voters still requires building coalitions, even if only among Republican legislators. Some presidents arrive in Washington with a natural band of loyalists ready to go to the mats over shared principles. Trump did not. His efforts to build a governing base have been mostly superficial.
Even the places where Trump has made precious peace, like with a House GOP leadership hungry to undo Obama era legislation, ironclad alliances have been hard to come by. His relationship with House Speaker Paul Ryan is the anxious standard. The latest trial, set in motion by the health care defeat, remains fundamentally unresolved.
Whatever the fate of his relationship with Ryan, Trump's presidency, like his ramshackle candidacy, seems destined to be played out in episodic chaos.
But Trump wouldn't have it -- and shouldn't be expected to try it -- any other way. After all, when November of 2016 came around, he did what he likes best -- he won.
Correction: This post has been updated to more accurately reflect the number of lawmakers Trump has attacked or alienated with tweets.