The Week on Planet Trump: The Devil Dines with the Democrats

Monday: White Resentment Defines GOP Support

You see broad Republican allegiance to Trump in the polling. Nearly 70 percent of Republicans say they agree with Trump on the issues. And 78 percent of Republicans say they approve of the president’s overall job performance. Republicans who have bucked or criticized Trump, like Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, have jeopardized their political futures as a result.

You also see the degree to which white racial resentment is a key force among Republican voters. Most Republicans, remember, agreed with President Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he held both sides—white supremacists and counterdemonstrators—responsible for the chaos that claimed the life of one anti-racist protester. In an analysis of recent polling, my colleague William Saletan observes that, across a number of questions gauging racial animus, Republicans generally (and Trump supporters specifically) are most likely to give answers signaling tolerance for racism and racist ideas. Forty-one percent of Republicans, for example, say that whites face more discrimination than blacks and other nonwhite groups (among strong Trump supporters, it’s 45 percent). Ten percent of Republicans and 19 percent of strong Trump supporters have a favorable impression of white nationalists, while 13 percent of the former (and 17 percent of the latter) say it’s “acceptable” to hold white supremacist views.

Jamelle Bouie, Slate

Tuesday: Stumbling into September

September, of course, was supposed to be when the administration would make its big push for tax reform, which is still, ostensibly, the top item on Team Trump’s agenda. Republicans, who also need some kind of legislative win before the 2018 elections, want the fall’s focus to be on taxes, too. “People are feeling optimistic because they do not see failure as an option. They’ve put all of their eggs in one basket now, and that basket is tax reform,” a source told Politico. “The fear of failure on this will cause people to agree with things they may not normally agree to.” Unfortunately, September is also shaping up to be filled with one crisis after another for the administration, which could derail tax reform entirely. Even before Trump unexpectedly tossed an ultimatum on comprehensive immigration reform to Congress, the White House was facing a nuclear North Korea; the continual prospect of a trade war with China; a budget showdown over a spending bill to keep the government running; a negotiation over the debt ceiling and funding for Trump’s border wall; and the ever more clear, very present danger of Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Bess Levin, Vanity Fair

Wednesday: Trump Doresn’t Understand DACA

The dreamers I know are husbands and wives, children and parents, cousins and friends. They are business owners, neighbors and soldiers who fight for our nation. Their work in sectors from technology to law to finance continually betters our nation. They are not and should not be defined by their immigration status. They must be defined by their character and contributions to this country, their devotion to our communities, and the dreams they espouse. Their America is our America. As Obama has said, they are Americans “in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper.”

We must look to the truth etched in our past and avoid a tendency to focus on short-term political impulses when it comes to immigration. Immigrants created the United States. Tenacity, entrepreneurship and fearlessness have defined immigrants throughout the centuries and serve as a common bond between my immigrant father and Trump’s immigrant mother.

Eric Holder, The Washington Post

Thursday: DACA Repeal will Fail

President Trump may have hoped to increase pressure on congressional Democrats to accept other hardline elements of his immigration agenda this week by rescinding the program that has protected from deportation about 800,000 “Dreamers,” young people brought to the country illegally by their parents.

But it’s more likely Trump has triggered a process that will divide Republicans, further estrange him from the business community, and ultimately paralyze Congress, placing the issue of how to handle the “Dreamers” squarely back on his desk when his six-month deadline expires.

Even with the new element of Trump’s pledge to end former President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, any congressional attempt to resolve DACA recipients’ situation faces the same daunting legislative geometry that doomed the last two major attempts at comprehensive immigration reform in 2006 and 2013.

Ronald Brownstein, The Atlantic

Friday: Why Trump Caved to Dems

The entire government's funding runs out on September 30, and unless Congress and the President raise the debt ceiling, the United States of America is going to default in just a few weeks. So why not take a breath, fund the flood relief, and use the 90 days you've bought yourself to hash out a sensible deal?

Speaker Ryan had called the Democrats' plan "ridiculous." Because of the skill and experience of Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, what was ridiculous yesterday will be the law of the land. That is what I call one artful deal.

Paul Begala, CNN

Saturday: Trump Shock’s Washington

President Trump’s shock deal with the two top Democrats in Congress was a shot across the bows of his own party — and the after-effects are reverberating.

Some insiders forecast that Trump is headed for a definitive break with Republican leadership, seeking to forge a new political identity after a divisive first stretch in office. Others suggest the deal could be a one-off and that the president will return soon enough to mocking Democrats and catering to his base.

The deal, struck in a White House meeting and passed by Congress, provides Hurricane Harvey relief and funds the government and raises the debt ceiling for three months, exactly the terms sought by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Trump backed them his over the wishes of his own party and his own Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin.

Niall Stanage, The Hill

Sunday: Bound by No Party

Other presidents have tacked against their own parties at times. Franklin D. Roosevelt sought to oust conservative Democrats who bucked him during party primaries in 1938. Ronald Reagan worked with Democrats, who controlled the House, to pass his agenda. Mr. Clinton introduced the term “triangulation” to the political vocabulary as he negotiated budget and welfare deals with Speaker Newt Gingrich.

But none seemed as distant from his own party as Mr. Trump. Breitbart News, the archconservative website run by his former adviser Stephen K. Bannon, delights in attacking establishment Republicans like Mr. Ryan. At a conference in Washington this past week featuring prominent political veterans from both parties, Republicans often expressed harsher assessments of Mr. Trump than Democrats did.

Peter Baker, The New York Times

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