Trump’s Base Turns On “Flipper-In-Chief”
Blink, and you missed Trump’s blistering, seamless transformation into what appears to be a mainstream politician earlier this week. In the span of just a few hours, President Trump flipped to new positions on several core policy issues, backing off on no less than five repeated campaign promises.
Unfortunately, at least for his re-election hopes, Trump’s support base, you know…the folks that delivered his stunning victories in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, is rapidly turning on the “flipper-in-chief.” Here are just a few comments from some disaffected supporters via Politico:
“Donald Trump dropped an emotional anchor. He captured how Americans feel,” said Tania Vojvodic, a fervent Trump supporter who founded one of his first campaign volunteer networks. “We expect him to keep his word, and right now he’s not keeping his word.”
“I’m not so infatuated with Trump that I can’t see the facts,” she said. “People’s belief, their trust in him, it’s declining.”
“It was like, here’s the chance to do something different. And that’s why people’s hopes are dashed,” said Lee Stranahan, who, as a former writer at Breitbart News, once worked with Bannon. “There was always the question of, ‘Did he really believe this stuff?’ Apparently, the answer is, ‘Not as much as you’d like.’”
Trump voters “felt like they were voting for an anti-establishment candidate — and they’re terrified, they’re losing faith,” Cardillo said. “They’re saying, ‘Why does he have these people around him?’”
Earlier this week, Tania Vojvodic even went so far as to launch a Facebook group called, “The concerned support base of President Trump,” which quickly drew several dozen sign-ups. She also changed the banner on her Facebook page to a picture of Bannon accompanied by the declaration: “Mr. President: I stand with Steve Bannon.”
Just yesterday we highlighted some of Trump’s key policy flip flops…here is an abridged version of our full post entitled “Trump Flips On Five Core Campaign Promises In Under 24 Hours.”
Goodbye strong dollar and high interest rates
In an announcement that rocked currency markets, Trump told the WSJ that the U.S. dollar “is getting too strong” and he would prefer the Federal Reserve keep interest rates low. “I do like a low-interest rate policy, I must be honest with you,” Mr. Trump said. “I think our dollar is getting too strong, and partially that’s my fault because people have confidence in me. But that’s hurting—that will hurt ultimately,” he added. “Look, there’s some very good things about a strong dollar, but usually speaking the best thing about it is that it sounds good.”
Trump then said the one thing that every other currency manipulator realizes all too well: “It’s very, very hard to compete when you have a strong dollar and other countries are devaluing their currency.”
During his campaign Trump had repeatedly said that a “strong dollar” policy would be beneficial for the US economy, despite our repeat warnings that he will inevitably reverse on this, especially if and when the “Goldman” circle of advisors starts providing macroconomic advice.
Labeling China a currency manipulator
“They’re not currency manipulators,” the president said, adding that China hasn’t been manipulating its currency for months, and that he feared derailing U.S.-China talks to crack down on North Korea. Trump routinely criticized President Obama for not labeling China a currency manipulator, and promised during the campaign to do so on day one of his administration.
Trump’s declaration also means that Peter Navarro may as well pack his bags, as the Goldman economic advisory team has now won its contest with the “Bannon nationalist” circle.
Trump also told the Journal he’d consider re-nominating Yellen to chair the Fed’s board of governors, after attacking her during his campaign.” I like her. I respect her,” Trump said, “It’s very early.”
Trump called Yellen “obviously political” in September and accused her of keeping interest rates low to boost the stock market and make Obama look good. “As soon as [rates] go up, your stock market is going to go way down, most likely,” Trump said. “Or possibly.”
Trump also voiced support behind the Export-Import Bank, which helps subsidize some U.S. exports, after opposing it during the campaign.
“It turns out that, first of all, lots of small companies are really helped, the vendor companies,” Trump told the Journal. “Instinctively, you would say, ‘Isn’t that a ridiculous thing,’ but actually, it’s a very good thing. And it actually makes money, it could make a lot of money.”
Trump’s support will anger conservative opponents of the bank, who say it enables crony capitalism.
Finally, Trump said NATO is “no longer obsolete” during a Wednesday press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, backtracking on his past criticism of the alliance. During the campaign, he frequently called the organization “obsolete,” saying did little to crack down on terrorism and that its other members don’t pay their “fair share.”
“I said it was obsolete. It is no longer obsolete,” the president said Wednesday.
And while this week’s transformation of Trump into a mainstream politician has been startling for supporters, others, like former campaign economic adviser Larry Kudlow, worry more about the “flip-flops” that are yet to come…particularly as it relates to tax reform.
Still others are concerned about Trump’s lack of progress on reforming the tax code.
Larry Kudlow, a veteran economist who advised Trump’s campaign, expressed dismay that the president hadn’t yet released a tax plan. He said he was beginning to wonder whether the president is about to walk back his pledge to cut taxes.
“What is their product?” Kudlow asked. “It doesn’t make any sense to me. I’m not giving up hope. But it’s looking very shaky to me.”
Conservative economist Stephen Moore, who also advised the Trump campaign, said he’s reached out to the White House about the lack of a tax package.
“They’re all over the map,” he said. “I don’t know if they’re listening or not.”
Meanwhile, ‘angel mom’ Brenda Sparks is growing increasingly concerned over Trump’s immigration policies…or lack thereof.
Brenda Sparks, an “angel mom” whose son was killed by an illegal immigrant, appeared onstage with Trump at an August campaign event in Phoenix. She said he promised her that he would overturn the program known Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, in short order.
While Sparks said she didn’t think it would be done immediately, “I had expected it before now.”
“I still support Trump, but I’m going to hold his feet to the fire,” she said. “He has not lived up to that promise.”
Michelle Dallacroce, an anti-immigration activist, is more pointed. Immigration is “why we voted for Donald Trump,” she said. “This could be the most elaborate reality show. I’m wondering, was this all an illusion for us, using our movement so he could get in there?”
Finally, in the clearest admission of guilt possible, Trump took to twitter, at the height of the flip-flopping allegations earlier this week, to deflect:
One by one we are keeping our promises – on the border, on energy, on jobs, on regulations. Big changes are happening!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 12, 2017