Trump has proven to be so much of a clueless nut job that for all practical purposes he has rendered himself irrelevant, except of course for signing whatever bills the Republican Congress places before him. So on that basis the Republican leadership pays him complimentary lip service to appease his ego.
With Speaker Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell caught between savvy congressional Democrats and a juvenile, grandstanding president who has no plans other than whatever it is that bring him instant gratification — one who neither understands or cares about issues — Republicans find that they have no choice but to work behind the scenes with Democrats. This is tricky political business.
For though the president has almost zero governance skills, with nearly forty percent of the country smitten by his personality, Republicans can not afford to be seen as being dismissive of him. So like the Donald himself, Congress is learning how to say one thing and quietly do the opposite of what the president wishes. For instance Trump wanted to cut the budget of the National Institute of Heath (probably a silly Bannon inspired notion), instead Congress slipped in an extra two billion dollars for the NIH. The same thing can be said about Trump’s boarder wall. Congress authorized more money for boarder security but not one penny for a pointless wall. In other words the serious business of governance must go on despite the clown show that periodically comes to town.
With the appointment of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, the GOP essentially controls all three branches of the Federal Government, however, between President Trump on one hand and its so called freedom caucus gumming the works in the House on the other hand, the latter an entity of legislators that doesn’t much believe in government, there is no smooth sailing for Washington Republicans. Indeed, both the president and the freedom caucus will continue as wildcards going forward for the Republican establishment. Yet Trump, as both national embarrassment and ultimate security threat, will remain the most difficult impediment to Republican domestic and international aspirations. He may be bypassed but he can’t be ignored.