First lessons for the Trump White House
Armstrong Williams | 2/2/2017, 2:12 p.m.
We are barely two weeks into the presidency of Donald J. Trump, and a few things are becoming evident while still others are slowly crystalizing around a man and an administration that will truly be unlike any other this institution has seen. And the hard truth is he is completely comfortable with that characterization and that anomalous reality.
Some quick observations:
A major Cold War is brewing with the press
I’m biased on this one, but let’s not kid ourselves. The White House is calling a completely different game with the media now. All decorum is out the window. We in the press need to get over it, quickly. It’s not changing anytime soon. In fact, if ever there was a topic or time where this administration would “double down” on something, it is with the media. Team Trump is losing no allies and none of its voter base by attacking the media. They lose credibility, sure. And one wonders what dividends that will pay during, for example, a terrorist situation or other crisis of some sort. But Bannon and his team have made this gambit, and they are comfortable with the outcome. Watch for this Cold War to continue, with no sign of a détente anytime soon.
Full-court press on the Trump agenda
First, I am simply amazed at the breadth of coverage this White House has made in creating executive orders and directives on policy issues. From building a wall and immigration, to CIA interrogation policies and Gitmo, to Wall Street and manufacturing, to abortion and even hints of a Supreme Court nominee, this White House has tackled many issues in whirlwind fashion. Not only is the media struggling to stay on top of the issues and delve deeper into the ramifications, but also policymakers are finding it difficult to draft off his lead. That is vintage Trump. He will say he is merely responding to the people (which makes his much-maligned inaugural address sound more intentional)—a group that has been silenced for far too long.
Surprising thaw among former opponents
I am repeatedly hearing from the so-called Never Trump-ers in their private confessions and “relief” that Trump took the election. Granted, it may be more relief that Hillary did not win. But I think it’s more than that. The more I travel the country and speak with individuals who didn’t vote for Trump and even actively worked to defeat him, the more I hear them profess that they didn’t think they would be so glad to see him enter the White House. The reason for that was on full display recently, when hundreds of thousands of people filled the streets. Sure, they have a right to protest and register their dissent. But the level of contempt they have for one man so early in his administration is unfair.
Those images, along with beyond-the-pale accusations and attacks against Trump from even those in the media, have helped to thaw feelings from establishment Republicans. Even though that may have been by accident, it is certainly to Trump’s benefit as he builds a new “coalition of the willing” to move his very aggressive domestic agenda.