We’re a week into the Trump administration. Quite a bit of maneuvering has occurred in the Oval Office, resulting in a handful of executive orders changing federal policy. At least two of Mr. Trump's trial ballon “policy statements,” what we can euphemistically call his ill-advised Twitter pronouncements, are puzzlingly un-conservative and un-Republican.
Mr. Trump’s notion that the US can raise a 20% tariff on Mexican imports to pay for his boondoggle border wall hurts the very people who voted for him. Given the volume of goods imported into the US from Mexico and to whom they sell, the net effect would disproportionately hurt lower- to middle-income Americans, those who often shop at stores selling discount items.
That trial ballon was shot down in less than a day.
The other statement was Mr. Trump’s threat to “send in the Feds” to quell violent crime in Chicago. Not only have conservatives and the GOP long advocated “state’s rights,” often a code-phrase for resisting federal civil rights laws, but the net affect of this action would be federal law enforcement taking over policing of an American city. That’s a decidedly un-conservative move, if it’s even legal.
Don’t think the criticism was in response to Chicago’s elevated murder rate, either. Recall that the mayor of Chicago is an old GOP nemesis, Rahm Emmanuel, and that Chicago is the adopted home town of Barack Obama. O’Reilly doesn’t miss a beat, and Trump, well, Trump is an eager toady.
The Chicago police superintendent, puzzled by the meaning of Trump’s statement, nevertheless welcomed the assistance, noting the force already had a close working relationship with the FBI and other federal agencies. The FBI made similar comments. Nothing more from Mr. Trump.
Mr. Trump appears unaware and uncaring of the effects of his words. Don’t be fooled. These tweets aren’t intended as policy statements. They’re intended as incitement of Trump’s opposition. His purpose, as ever, is to keep the opposition off-balance, bouncing from one issue to the next. It’s important to stay focused on Trump’s unprofessional and unprepared nature, and repeatedly bring it to the attention of the only body capable of putting the brakes on it: the US Congress.
One can hope.
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