— Published with Permission of ConservativeHQ.com —
Has Donald Trump turned Democrat?
It’s something many Republicans and conservatives are wondering after the president, without warning, caved-in to the minority party’s demands this week to limit the scope of raising the debt ceiling without apparently asking for anything of value in return for the capitulation.
Nearly everyone who isn’t a Democrat says it was a “bad deal” for Trump and conservatives. Are they right?
Sarah Westwood of the Washington Examiner reported, “Many Republican lawmakers and aides expressed a sense of shock and feelings of frustration on Wednesday with Trump’s sudden overture to the Democrats. Some pointed to the decision as proof that the president has little personal commitment to the fiscal conservatism he spouted on the campaign trail. This, in turn, raised questions about how effectively the White House can marshal support for its tax reform plan from the same GOP members whose wishes Trump ignored in the debt ceiling fight…
“The deal Trump struck with Democrats, which McConnell reluctantly agreed to back, will tie billions of dollars in relief funding for Hurricane Harvey to the three-month debt ceiling increase and to a continuing resolution that will keep the government open until December. The move delayed a difficult legislative battle that would have consumed the month of September ahead of several hard deadlines, giving lawmakers time to address other items — such as tax reform and immigration — that might have otherwise fallen to the wayside.”
There is some truth to this. With only three weeks left until the inevitable shattering of the debt ceiling the subject was beginning to dominate the conversation in Washington and was edging out Trump’s true agenda priorities (including his tax reform plan). It’s no secret Trump wanted Republican leaders to tie a debt ceiling deal to hurricane relief so it would pass.
They didn’t do it — so the non-ideological deal-making businessman ran to the other side of the aisle and made a bargain with the devil to clear the table for his real items of interest.
Looking at it objectively, it’s pathetic that Democrats threatened to hold up hurricane relief in order to extract concessions from a president whom they relentlessly chastise as having no heart. But let’s hand it to them — Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi perhaps understand what motivates Trump better than Republican leaders do. It really isn’t all that hard to figure out.
The Democrats knew after the president made several public relations-oriented trips to hurricane ravaged areas last week that he would do practically anything to get money to help those people. They understood they could go into the Oval Office on Wednesday and ask for the moon — and Trump would provide them with a gold-plated Saturn V rocket emblazoned with a Trump logo to get them there, regardless of the presence of the doltish and hapless Republican leadership in the meeting.
As battle-tested keepers of the federal Santa Claus’s goody bag, Schumer and Pelosi recognized the time was ripe to open it for all the kids to enjoy. Having President Trump stuck in an impossible tactical situation made no difference to the soulless Democrat check dispensers and they figured if they couched their extortive demands in just the right way they would get whatever they desired.
“Oh the children! Families will be split apart! Lives will be ruined! It’s just not fair! It’s just not fair!”
Meanwhile, it is obvious Trump truly wants to help the flooded-out victims and he also realizes politically speaking he can’t go back on a promise to aid them. George W. Bush’s second term was completely shuddered when the news media made it seem like he didn’t care about the New Orleans victims of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Trump wasn’t about to let the same thing happen to him just because there are some Republicans demanding that actual negotiations take place and concessions be made prior to agreeing on the debt ceiling and next year’s federal budget.
Schumer and Pelosi recognized this weakness and went for the jugular. It really has gotten that bad in Washington.
Now that Trump capitulated on the debt ceiling fight there’s evidence Democrats are even more emboldened to ask for bigger and more damaging things the next time around. With Hurricane Irma bearing down on the state of Florida in what could bring catastrophic damage to the politically vital Sunshine State, will Trump resist them if they hold relief hostage again?
Susan Ferrechio of the Washington Examiner reported, “The three-month deal benefits Democrats by guaranteeing another spending cliff in December, which will give them a new opportunity to negotiate, in exchange for their votes, wish list items. Those are likely to include Obamacare funding and legislation benefiting so-called Dreamers who arrived in the United States illegally as children.
“‘As Democratic leaders, we also made it clear that we strongly believe the DREAM Act must come to the floor and pass as soon as possible, and we will not rest until we get this done,’ Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said after the White House meeting…
“Democrats, who have no problem sticking together, are now putting a price on their cooperation.”
Maybe this whole affair will spur Republicans to do a little uniting of their own. Who knows?
Before everyone panics, there are a few things at play here. First, as the author of the “Art of the Deal” Trump clearly saw cutting an agreement with the Democrats as the quickest way to begin what he must view as the much more difficult task of passing tax reform.
Two, maybe he wanted to send a signal to Republican establishment leaders that if they don’t get their act together and impose a little party discipline on the wayward members of their respective caucuses that he won’t hesitate to bring the devious opposition into the picture to get something accomplished.
Three, Trump will do whatever he sees fit to spur the economy even if it means borrowing more now and worrying about it later. The spend-crazy Democrats just want their money. If Trump is willing to give it to them they’ll make a deal and say nice things about him afterwards – at least for a day or so.
During last year’s campaign it became evident that Trump was no limited government conservative and that he would ask for tax cuts, maintain entitlement spending at its current unsustainable levels and request hundreds of billions for fixing the nation’s infrastructure (and beef up the military) without giving a whole lot of thought to how it would all be paid for.
Put more bluntly, Trump doesn’t care about deficits and borrowing if he believes, based on his experience in business, that it will bring benefits to the public and prestige to the “brand” (in this case, the U.S.A.).
Trump also isn’t afraid to dump tons of money into enterprises that don’t look all that promising to turn a profit. A case in point was his purchase and complete re-do (in the early 2000’s) of a golf club in Rancho Palos Verdes, California which he subsequently called Trump National Los Angeles (Trump names all of his clubs Trump National (something)…branding, right?).
The previous owners practically went bankrupt because several of the golf holes were heavily damaged by Pacific storms, basically making much of the course unplayable. Trump came in, bought the spectacular oceanfront land and dumped $250 million into renovating the property, making it the most expensive golf course ever built. It was also his first “signature” golf course design (though he had help from professional course architects as well).
Trump National L.A. is still open to the public. The question is can it ever turn a profit?
On greens fees alone, no chance. But there are real estate considerations there in addition and Trump must have figured he’d eventually make money on the deal one way or another (maybe even writing off the losses). Whether he actually has (made money), I really don’t know. But even to the casual observer Trump’s was seen as a risky venture.
It’s the type of “big” deal Donald Trump has consummated throughout his lifetime and is still looking to make today in Washington. No one doubts Trump’s intellect or his impulse for turning the best deal he can possibly negotiate, but the question is will his business instincts ultimately end up bankrupting the country because his “buy now, pay later” philosophy doesn’t gel well with an enterprise as large, complex and subject to the whims of political expediency as the leviathan that is today’s federal government?
Of course, Republicans could alleviate most of the concerns over Trump’s eccentric splurging tendencies by merely devising conservative legislation that accomplishes the fiscal goals they’ve long-since bragged about during election years. Simply put: pass some bills and send them to Trump.
A trained chimp could probably get it done, but can Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell?
It seems clear Trump himself would have little issue with assenting to laws that were fiscally conservative as long as he saw them providing the benefits to society that he views as essential. Conservatives will fight him, perhaps, on the size of his spending requests – but a “deal” could be reached as long as it’s not too heavily weighed-down with government pork.
Above all Donald Trump seems driven by a determination to “Make America Great Again” through reviving our economy, rebuilding our cities and making everything shine again, just like one of his skyscrapers. Republican leaders would go a long way towards working effectively with the president if they only understood what really motivates him. Will they ever learn?