Remember the omnibus? That’s the garbage legislation drafted in secret by turncoat Republican leadership and foisted on Donald “I’ll sign anything” Trump at the last moment. Axios has an amusing if ultimately contentless piece, based (as these pieces tend to be) entirely on anonymous sources, describing Trump’s grousing post-omnibus. The piece is titled Trump’s freak-out moment:
We can’t overstate the severity of President Trump’s buyer’s remorse from signing last month’s spending bill. It could even be a turning point in his presidency, on the issue of immigration and his level of cooperation with Republican leaders; Sources who’ve discussed it with Trump say it freaked him out to see the array of usually friendly faces on Fox News’ opinion shows ripping into him for signing a bill that spent a ton of money, but gave lots away to liberal priorities and did little for his signature promise to build a wall.
Why this matters: Truth is that Trump had little clue what was in the largest spending bill ever passed. Conventional wisdom on Capitol Hill has been that nothing will happen on immigration after the early failure to cut a deal this year. Republican leadership sources were telling us that the court decision to keep DACA alive took away Trump’s deadline and removed the pressure on Congress to act. But now some of those sources are nervous, realizing that Trump won’t let the issue fade into the background.
In other words, the President of the United States learned how bad this bill was from the teevee. And by the time he figured it out, it was too late.
One never knows who is pushing stories like this, and what their agenda is. But ask yourself: what other plausible scenario is there? Do you think that Trump was fully aware weeks ahead of time that the bill would fund Planned Parenthood and sanctuary cities while giving him virtually nothing on immigration? I’m cynical about the guy, but I’m not that cynical. No, it’s far more plausible that he didn’t care what was in the bill, trusted GOP leaders not to screw him, and found out what had happened from “Fox & Friends.”
To me, the real lesson here is this: he’s supposedly still unhappy about the reaction, and planning/trying to do something about it. The possible moves include using executive powers to toughen immigration laws, and threatening a shutdown next time around.
Now, that last idea may be catastrophically dumb from an electoral strategy point of view, given that “next time around” is September, two months before congressional elections. Keep in mind: the man is an idiot.
But the point is: the people upset about the omnibus have his attention.
What does that tell you?
It tells you that criticizing Trump’s dumb actions can be a good thing. That is, as long as those criticisms make it onto the teevee, where he gets the only information that matters to him.
You see, there’s a rift in the Republican party, between 1) people who defend literally everything this guy does, minimize his missteps, and save their worst vitriol for those who criticize Trump, and 2) everybody else. Those in the first crowd — Trumpalos — are the types who, when Trump signs the omnibus, circle their wagons around Trump. They place all (I emphasize: not “some” or “most” but “all”) of the blame on Congress. They tell you, sure, this is not ideal, but it’s just one small loss in a winning Presidency. Leave the guy alone. They deride every Trump critic as a “cuck.” They laugh at any attempt to criticize Trump as betraying conservative principles, invoking the mocking phrase “muh principals.” (Yes, “principals.” As Trumpalos, they don’t really know how to spell.)
Then there’s everyone else — a group which is composed of both people who dislike Trump and those who like him. And that group says: whoa whoa whoa! This deal really sucks! We’re pissed off about it! We’re not going to remain silent! We’re going to let him know we’re upset!
If you believe this Axios story, that matters to him. If it’s said on teevee.
Maybe you don’t believe Trump cares about the criticism from the teevee. If that describes you, I applaud your ability to ignore reality. Sometimes I wish I could ignore it so thoroughly.
But for those of you who can see reality clearly, the lesson is clear. Defending and praising this guy at every turn, no matter what he does, will not get you results. If he screws up, you need to let him know.
And get your complaint on teevee.