For somebody that supposedly has terrific political instincts, Donald Trump’s recent spate of attacks on the House Freedom Caucus is shortsighted at best. He’s listening to the wrong people if he thinks catering to Democrats is the way to go moving forward.
Isolating Mark Meadows, Thomas Massie, and Jim Jordan for Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer is only going to get Trump burned. He tweeted the following this morning:
The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don't get on the team, & fast. We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 30, 2017
What good does Trump think will come from fighting against Freedom Caucus members in 2018? The President, with the temporary failure of Obamacare repeal behind him, said he wants to tackle tax reform next. Does he think he’ll be able to cut corporate tax rates and lower marginal rates without members of the House Freedom Caucus on board?
It all goes back to Trump’s inability to get over a perceived slight. He doesn’t care what was in the AHCA, and he likely didn’t know. All he knows is he didn’t get a bill to sign, and people like Hugh Hewitt and Brit Hume are (incorrectly) blaming HFC members for the failure of the bill to pass.
In addition to Trump’s persecution complex, he is ignorant of the fact that HFC members are in safe districts. Their re-election in 2018 is a far safer bet than Trump’s in 2020. Look at these numbers:
Mark Meadows – Won his re-election in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District 64% to 36%
Thomas Massie – Won his re-election in Kentucky’s 4th Congressional District 71% to 29%
Jim Jordan – Won his re-election in Ohio’s 4th Congressional District 68% to 32%
Does Trump honestly think these three and others in the HFC caucus are going to bow to his lame Twitter threats?
My guess is, these petty attacks are coming after Steve Bannon whispers in his ear. One can see the rage building in Trump as Bannon says, “They screwed you, boss. Let’s get them.” Trump, like the Hulk, becomes uncontrollable and whips out his phone and tweets.
Bannon sits back, arms folded and smiling. Trump comes out of his rage stupor and finds Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer sitting in the Oval Office.
That will work, right?