How did the Democrats manage to win the president over? The late-night comics break down the process. USA TODAY Opinion_Eileen Rivers
When he fired an FBI director investigating him, they blamed the “deep state.”
When he excused the actions of violent white supremacists, they thought the media was out to get him.
When he mocked a disabled reporter, they insisted it never happened.
But this week, we learned what issue would cause President Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters to turn their backs on him.
Last week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced they had struck a deal with Trump that would allow children of undocumented immigrants to remain in the country in exchange for more border security funding. That funding doesn’t include Trump’s famous border wall, which he has promised supporters he would build.
It was the most predictable about-face in American political history. Congress was never going to start throwing innocent children out of the country and the border wall was never more than an expensive symbol for tougher immigration policy. But according to a Politico poll conducted in January, 75 percent of Trump supporters favored building the wall, while only 35 percent of the public at large supported it. The #MAGA crowd actually thought it was going to happen.
Thus, since the announcement, Trump supporters have acted as if he has committed the ultimate betrayal. U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who apparently has been in hibernation for two years, declared that if the stories about the deal were true, the “Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable and disillusioned beyond repair,” adding that, “no promise is credible.” Trump’s loudest sycophant, Ann Coulter, asked “at this point, who DOESN’T want Trump impeached?”
Even Breitbart, a website that would, if Trump asked it to, run a story declaring that Trump won gold in the decathlon at the 2016 Olympics, piled on. The site slammed Trump’s deal with the headline “AMNESTY DON… DEMS DECLARE VICTORY AS TRUMP CAVES ON DACA.”
Et tu, toupee?
Sadly, after sticking with Trump through his freakish presidential sideshow, it is Trump’s most visible show of human decency that has turned his supporters against him.
As he asked on Twitter:
“Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!…..”
The answer for some of his supporters clearly was “yes.”
Many of the more credulous red-hat wearers believed in Trump’s preternatural deal-making ability, without any evidence to back it up. During the 2016 campaign, when Trump evaded explaining how he was going to make all their dreams come true by simply saying he was going to cut the “best deals,” they cheered, not knowing those deals would be cut with Schumer and Pelosi.
But Trump’s empty assertion that he’s some sort of business savant is like a Sheboygan strip mall restaurant hanging a sign in its window declaring that it has the “World’s Best Sushi.” As we saw, Trump’s master negotiating strategy is to simply capitulate to whatever Democrats want, without getting anything of value in return. He is a walking example of why late-night reverse mortgage commercials exist.
It actually takes a singularly bad deal-maker to deserve ridicule even when he does something right. America’s immigration policy does belong in Congress and shouldn’t be subject to the whims of the president. We do need more funding for actual border security and not for a white elephant like the wall. And yet his “pivot” on these issues puts “Build the Wall” right next to Woodrow Wilson’s “He Kept Us Out of War” in the pantheon of most disingenuous presidential campaign mottos.
With his American greatness-making skills in question, Trump soon will need to bring the Breitbart crowd back into the fold. Only time will tell if he can think of something wretched enough to earn back their trust.
Christian Schneider is a columnist and blogger for the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, where this piece first appeared. Follow him on Twitter: @Schneider_CM.