Mara Liasson

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President Trump went to Utah on Monday. The official purpose of his trip was to announce the reduction of two national monuments in the state, though he could have signed those orders in the Oval Office.

But the journey west may have served a political purpose for the president — to keep a political rival out of Washington.

Democrats' success in this month's elections was bigger than expected, and was fueled in part by strong opposition to President Trump. In the past few weeks, there's been a lot of chatter about whether that means a big, blue wave is forming off the political coast that could potentially crash into the 2018 midterm elections.

We asked Republicans and Democrats what the off-year elections could mean for their parties next year. Here are five takeaways.

1. Good news for Democrats

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When Donald Trump won the election a year ago, he promised to be a transformational president, to drain the swamp, shake up the establishment and do away with gridlock. He also predicted that being president would change him.

A year ago Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton, and the surprises haven't stopped since.

He promised to be a transformational president, to "drain the swamp" and shake up the establishment.

And he promised that being president would change him — saying that he could become more "presidential" than anyone except Abraham Lincoln.

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The past few days have been particularly chaotic, even for a president who seems to thrive on self-created chaos.

There's been a feud with a key Republican senator, a flare-up at a professional football game with President Trump instructing his vice president to walk out when players (on the most activist team in the NFL) knelt during the national anthem, and he even questioned the IQ of his secretary of state.

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Late this morning, President Trump solemnly addressed the nation.

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So there is a whole lot that President Trump wants from Congress - Hurricane Harvey relief, a fix for DACA, maybe a border wall.

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There's little sign that the backlash the president has received has made an impact on his approach to his job. NPR's Mara Liasson tells us the president's unapologetic stance reveals a few things about him. For one, President Trump is an open book.

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During the campaign, President Trump vowed to, quote, "cancel U.S. participation" in an historic international agreement, the Paris climate accord. Today, he did it.

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President Trump has had, according to the White House, a successful maiden trip outside the U.S. But the bad news is he has to come home. Back in Washington, the ongoing Russia investigations await him along with another appeals court setback for his travel ban.

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Official Washington is consumed with the firestorm that President Trump started when he fired FBI director James Comey earlier this week.

But Washington, D.C. is also an actual place where actual people live and work. Sometimes those people react to the news in very personal ways.

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