Opinion

Will Trump Believers Suspend Their Disbelief Too Long?

Yesterday Donald Trump warned his Twitter followers: “Don’ let the fake media tell you that I have changed my position on the WALL.  It will get built and help stop drugs, human trafficking etc.”

With this in mind, Trump believers may soon have to relegate Rush Limbaugh to the “fake news” category, given what he reportedly had to say on his radio program on Tuesday:

I’m not happy to have to pass this on. I’m very, very troubled to have to pass this on. And I want to say at the outset that I hope my interpretation is wrong and I hope this is not the case but it looks like from here, right here, right now – it looks like President Trump is caving on his demand for a measly $1 billion from the budget for his wall on the border with Mexico.

Mr. Limbaugh lamented the fact that President Trump is apparently intimidated by the prospect that failure to pass an interim funding measure will lead to a so-called “shutdown” of the U.S. Government.  As Limbaugh sees it the Democrats seem to have successfully used this stupid silly threat of a government shutdown to get their way. What Trump is saying is if we need to get this done, I’ll delay the spending on the wall until September.  And it’s just a measly $1 billion.”

In fact, something far more critical than money is at stake for President Trump.  He won the Presidency because he gave the impression of being a bold character, skilled at the art of winning through intimidation, and not at all averse to practicing it.  His response to Syria’s alleged used of poison gas; and his present face-off with North Korea, rely on the same perception.  Many of his supporters didn’t back him because they appreciated his persuasive reasoning, his prudent judgment, his well-informed policy proposals.  They did so because on the issues that were the focus the anger and resentment cause by repeated betrayals and retreats by the GOP leadership, he told them what they wanted to hear, promised to do what they wanted done, and repeatedly acted like a fearless pit-bull who would never back down.

Uncharitable onlookers could be tempted by the thought that his missile strike against Syria, and even the ongoing melodrama with North Korea, are instances of misdirection, calculated to distract Trump believers as he morphed from snarling pit-bull to compliant lap dog on a range of issues involving foreign policy and international relations.  The confirmation of Neil Gorsuch may be enough to mollify pro-life and other moral conservatives as he kicks the can down the road on issues involving religious liberty and the forcible promotion of the homosexual agenda.

But what is to distract the long-suffering and often betrayed people anxious to restore control of America’s borders and sovereignty as a nation?  Fearful pleas about the need to avoid “a government shutdown” and the imperative of being seen “to govern” echo the mantras continually deployed by the GOP’s quisling leadership to justify their de facto collusion with Obama’s treacherous border and immigration policies.  They reek with the sickly-sweet odor that perfumes the swamp candidate Trump boldly promised to drain.  Now it’s being reported that Trump believers who took that promise seriously are reconsidering their leap of faith:

William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration, or ALIPAC, said his group is preparing to pull its endorsement of Trump, giving him a deadline of April 30 to demand that Congress fund the wall, end Obama’s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program for illegals and cancel Obama’s Muslim refugee deal with Australia.

“We are on course to drop our endorsement, yes,” Gheen told WND Tuesday. “The news about the border wall, combined with the Australian refugee deal and DACA, it’s very unlikely that’s going to all change by Monday. But if he does, we will gladly continue to endorse him. But ALIPAC does not support candidates who support amnesty and unconstitutional policies and, unfortunately, that is who Donald Trump is at the moment.”

Trump believers may take comfort in the fact that recent polls belie the notion that Trump’s retreats and dithering have dismayed his supporters.  More than 90% of those who entrusted him with their vote say they would still do so.  This indicates good success for the Trump publicists’ media strategy, which aims every day to remind Trump believers of the treacheries of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.  Thus, the fact that they were so bad is used to distract from any temptation to ponder the evidence that Trump may be no darned good.

In response to an article in which I attempted an interim assessment of President Trump’s performance one reader commented that, though I made some good points, we should wait at least two years before jumping to any conclusions.  That means waiting to see the outcome of the midterms, instead of laying the groundwork for using them to register the political response we think is needed.  By contrast, President Trump has already raised the prospect of moving against sincere conservatives who refuse to provide window dressing for the GOP’s retreat from candidate Trump’s bold promises.  Meanwhile, on so-called tax reform and in other areas, he is making sure that the money powers needed to make good on his political threats are content.

People who endorsed candidate Trump’s boisterous promises said we could “hold his feet to the fire” if he retreated from them.  But it’s only at election time that voters are really in a position to do so.  If conservatives are being conned, it’s imperative that they see the pattern of events that verifies that fact before it’s too late.  That insight will be essential to any effort to rally them in support of candidates for Congress truly determined to fulfill candidate Trump’s promised agenda, even  if it has to be in spite of President Trump’s disinclination to do so.