In May, 2016, in a packed arena in Billings, Montana, then-candidate Donald Trump promised his audience that conservatives would win big with him at the helm. In his high-energy sales pitch, the future President promised adoring fans that “We’re going to win. We’re going to win so much. We’re going to win at trade, we’re going to win at the border. We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of winning, you’re going to come to me and go ‘Please, please, we can’t win anymore.’ You’ve heard this one. You’ll say ‘Please, Mr. President, we beg you sir, we don’t want to win anymore. It’s too much. It’s not fair to everybody else.’” By bringing his negotiator-in-chief qualities to the White House, Trump told audiences, he would reverse America’s seeming decline and make us great again. Here we are, however, six months into his term and conservatives have little to show for complete Republican control of Washington.
I’m not solely blaming the commander-in-chief, because our do-nothing GOP majority in Congress certainly deserves its fair share of the blame, but the President has certainly not helped the cause any either with Twitter tirades and chronically low approval ratings. The combination of Congress doing nothing and the President spending more time responding to critics on social media than pressing for the conservative agenda, is undermining Obamacare repeal, tax reform, spending cuts, and border security policy. Even as I write this article, for example, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is trying to decide which version of Obamacare repeal he wants the Senate to vote on next week, and President Trump is publicly criticizing his own Attorney General for recusing himself from the Russia investigation. It’s like amateur hour at the Apollo.
Instead of allowing this chaos to continue, I hope the President will devote more time to helping the Vice-President work Capitol Hill to try and find a way to pass healthcare legislation, and to raise money to primary Republican senators who sell-out on Obamacare repeal. There seemed to be some movement toward engaging the legislative process today when the President hosted GOP Senators at the White House for lunch, where he threatened sell-out Senator Dean Heller by stating “Look, he wants to remain a senator, doesn’t he? And I think the people of your state, which I know very well, I think they’re gonna appreciate what you hopefully will do.”
If the President will do more meetings like he did today, which are focused on advancing the conservative agenda, he can help prod Congress toward meaningful action and reverse the stagnation that has plagued the new Republican government. This will require Trump to stop being the “chaos candidate” and to become a disciplined leader who controls his emotions, builds consensus around conservative principles, and doesn’t undermine his own people, like Jeff Sessions, in public. Congress, likewise, will have to get off its butt and pass some dang bills that live-up to their campaign rhetoric for the past three elections about repealing Obamacare, balancing the budget, and cutting taxes.
The first six months of complete Republican control of Washington has not gone well, and liberals are emboldened. Now is the time to cancel August’s congressional recess, buckle-down, and try and govern as adults before next year’s midterm elections bring us the second iteration of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.