They tried it just after he was elected. Unfortunately for them Trump wasn't capable of suddenly turning all Presidential and heading for the centre ground. Instead he brought a whole series of deeply weird and dangerous people into his administration and proceeded to back them to the hilt when they invented their own version of reality. Then he started to fall out with them as soon as they showed the least sign of not understanding that they were meant to be Trump's creatures not the other way round. Steve Bannon for example didn't grasp that.
Trump is a man with a serious ego. He doesn't do conventional centre ground consensus politics. He does and says whatever he thinks will most help himself in any given situation on any given day and he has a staggering lack of concern for what he said a few weeks earlier or the consequences for anyone else.
So if you want to understand why Donald Trump has dropped bombs on Syria (in direct contradiction of all the criticisms he made of Obama's inability to put America first and bring the troops home) then please don't buy the concept of the new caring, sharing, Donald. This is not a man who switches position because he sees TV footage of children being gassed in Syria.
This is a man who calculates personal advantage without any thought for the moral implications. There is only one question which really matters in US politics at the moment. What is in the interests of Donald Trump today?
The second you discount all the nonsense about a change of heart and analyse what gain he gets out of bombing Syria then it seems to me that there is only one obvious conclusion. He needed to distance himself from the accusations of Russian support during the Presidential campaign. This was the easiest way of doing it.
What was the biggest threat to his administration in the last few weeks? Can there be any doubt that it was accusations - or rather increasing mountains of evidence - that his campaign had the active support of the Russian secret services. Day after day the proof was stacking up that his campaign team met with the Russians, knew what was being done and lied about their contacts in a vain attempt to cover them up. Large quantities of money also changed hands for spurious work for various obscure Russian companies and that money was starting to leave a very dangerous trail.
Trump knew that this was something that a lot of his own supporters felt uncomfortable with. Reds under the beds have never been popular with the US right. Just because the Russians are now far right nationalists rather than communists doesn't mean that the suspicion of them in American has reduced much. Clear evidence presented to a court of law that showed beyond doubt how the Russians used computer hacking and social media campaigns to puff up Trump and discredit Clinton are one of the few things that could have led to his impeachment. Especially if Trump's advisors took money for helping the Russians to do it. This is also one of the few things that could have led large chunks of his supporters to turn on him and support that impeachment. Having openly called for Clinton's emails to be hacked by the Russians at a campaign rally Trump must have known that there was plenty of evidence to be found. Hence all the guff about Obama ordering the CIA and the British secret service to tap his phone and hack his computers.
One of Trump's standard tactics is the smokescreen. If you are guilty of something then start accusing as many other people as possible of doing exactly what you are guilty of. It discredits your opposition and if you do get caught enables you to say that everyone else was doing it so it is no big deal.
But this time the smokescreen he used wasn't enough. The Russian scandal just kept on getting closer and closer to the President himself and costing him some key allies. Then Assad, being stupid as well as vicious and evil, presented Trump with the perfect way out. Assad became so arrogant and drunk with victory that he thought he could drop chemical weapons on his opponents and no one would care because the Russians had promised him that they would crush his enemies.
In these circumstances all Trump had to do was to order a missile strike and he could present himself as the defender of innocent children and the strong man who stands up to dictators. With one bound he could also distance himself from all those accusations of being too close to the Russians. That is what really counted. Nothing that happened this week was about Syrian children. Everything was about Donald Trump's self interest.
Ask yourself this question. If Saudi Arabia had dropped chemical weapons on Yemen would Trump have batted an eyelid?
Also ask yourself this question. Has he personally gained or lost from dropping bombs? What impact will it have on Donald Trump's psychology now that he has discovered that one sure fire way to go up in public opinion and to sidestep some very dangerous criticisms is to order the US armed forces to launch a bombing attack? Where else might he decide that this is an easy solution? Do you really want a knee jerk selfish risk taker controlling the largest and most powerful nuclear forces the world has ever known?
Let us hope that his uncontrolled actions worried the Chinese enough to make them do something quick and significant about the genuine threat of North Korea. Let us also hope that Trump is capable of understanding the difference between the risks of a small one off military gesture in Syria and those of a pre-emptive strike on North Korea.
I have always expected that it would be a matter of time before the bulk of the British press would try and normalise Donald Trump. He isn't normal. I have also always expected that it would be a matter of time before Donald's ego would class with Putin's and they would start to fall out. But above all I have always been terrified about what a petulant, egotistical, spoiled child might do when he becomes a very powerful old man and weighs up the options available to him in North Korea.
That is why I am not sleeping one bit more comfortably in my bed. I don't go to sleep feeling safe and secure under the wise protection of the new caring sharing Donald Trump. I stay awake worrying about what the crazy guy might do next!