DETROIT, Michigan — President Trump’s base appears to be growing concerned with the direction of his administration, against the backdrop of a number of drastic policy shifts from the campaign period as well as his first few weeks in office.
As the notorious “first 100 days” mark rushes up on him, President Trump will have to perform a careful balancing act between the two evident camps in the White House: the nationalists and the globalists, between which a real reconciliation looks unlikely.
The former appears to be supported by the campaign’s base — the people who put Trump in office. The latter appears to appeal to the President on the grounds of more positive headlines, less contentious policy issues as far as establishment media coverage is concerned, and his preternatural, New York liberal outlook.
It’s not all bad news for the President, but it is a warning to be heeded. Here in Michigan, Trump voters, campaigners, and low-level donors expressed concern to this Breitbart News correspondent on the recent change in his direction — citing the travel ban, border control, and the power of his relatives in his administration as key areas of concern.
“We’re watching a man who can take action every single day,” Jeff, a long-standing Trump supporter, told me. He went on:
He doesn’t need to go to Congress. He can take action. We’re watching him carefully. We’re talking about people who have lives to live. Grandchildren to take care of. And we’re watching actions day to day and they’re falling flat. They’re receding from why we put the man there, and it is extremely, it is more than stressful. We’re keeping track, we’re watching it. We do not want to hear about family members having an impact. We voted. We have high expectations for impact.
Not everyone was so glum, however. One local cab driver dismissed such concerns, telling me that President Trump would listen to whomever he had to on a variety of issues, and if they tried to “bounce him” too much, he’d push back, perhaps even stop listening.
I asked him, given his sunny disposition on the issue, “Do you think the border wall will be built?”
He shot me a wry smile in his rear view mirror: “No. But I don’t think it matters.”
“I might take a permanent break [from Trump]!” said Cindy, a local Republican Party activists who admits to having preferred Sen. Ted Cruz in the primaries.
“Oh no you’re not!” her friend shot back. They laughed heartily about her irritation, but she continued still: “I look every day to see if he put that [travel] ban on. I look every day,” she said, insisting that the White House had not done enough to force through President Trump’s executive order pausing the flow of refugees and calling for extreme vetting.
Some even stated they’d be hard to win back, even though it’s been fewer than 100 days for President Trump’s administration.
Perhaps, I thought, their frustration emanates from the fact that candidate Trump promised so much on “day one.” His blunt approach during the campaign perhaps lulled supporters into thinking these were literal “day one” promises. He had said during the campaign that “day one” would include imposing Congressional term limits, repealing Obamacare, deporting illegal immigrants, fixing Veteran’s Affairs, redressing the balance of NATO, getting rid of gun free zones in schools, and a whole lot more.
Although President Trump swiftly acted on some issues such as “ending the war on coal” and appears to be moving toward a renegotiation of NAFTA, on others, he has performed a complete 180-degree turn, evidenced this week by his chumminess with NATO’s Secretary General, and a U-turn on replacing Federal Reserve chairman Janet Yellen and his prior disdain for the Export-Import Bank.
He relied heavily on these issues in his campaign videos, especially the ones targeted at The Great Lakes State in the final few weeks of the 2016 campaign:
While these names were not first to the lips of the dozens I spoke to in Michigan — which I am not claiming is science — they did stress their growing disaffection with the executive branch.
“I feel like it’s gone so far now the wrong way that it’s going to take something magnificent on his part to get people back. We’re fish that are off the hook right now. He only has one small chance to get us hooked again,” Penny, a middle-aged lady from Sterling Heights, told me, adding:
Jared and Ivanka were not on the ballot. I did not vote for them, nor would I if given the opportunity. There is a reason we have anti-nepotism rules. The fact that they were aided by the odious Jamie Gorelick in circumventing those rules pours salt in our wounds. Now it looks like the counterbalance of Bannon and Kellyanne is being marginalized. President Trump seems to have forgotten the loyal supporters who have been behind him since the early primary days. I feel so very betrayed.
And being in Detroit, a common theme was Islam and Muslim immigration. All bar one person I spoke to on the matter agreed that the Muslim Brotherhood should be designated as a terrorist organisation, and that refugee resettlement into the United States needs immediate curtailment.
With what I gathered in Dearborn and Hamtramck — as research for my upcoming book — I was hardly surprised.
“There is at least 50 people I know that are disappointed that the Hijra to America is continuing,” Cindy said, concluding: “Lay off the Freedom Caucus; we are the grassroots supporters.”
The writing is obviously not yet on the wall as far as a second Trump term goes. But if the first 100 days — especially the second half of that time period — are anything to go by — the Donald will have some serious explaining to do in about three years time.
Note: The names of some of those interviewed have been anonymized at the request of those quoted