The past two weeks have been difficult ones for supporters of President Donald Trump, as he has made a series of unforced errors and watched Congress fail to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Ironically, these mishaps came just as the Russia conspiracy theory, the scourge of the Trump administration, has been falling apart.
Trump supporters are willing to criticize him — as Barack Obama’s supporters were not — and, in doing so, are hoping for better results.
The president’s public criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, one of Trump’s most loyal supporters, was the first warning sign. The chaos surrounding new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci was another. Trump supporters largely shrugged off his ad-libbed jokes to police in New York about roughing up gang members, but his politicized speech to the Boy Scouts’ jamboree caused greater consternation, despite the applause.
On Sunday, Trump continued to push Senate Republicans to find a way forward on Obamacare, urging them to end the filibuster rule if necessary. The problem is that Senate Republicans cannot even find 50 votes for their proposals. At other times, he has vowed to let Obamacare collapse to force Democrats to negotiate — which he could hasten by dropping Obamas’s legal defense of unconstitutional subsidies for the insurance exchanges. But he has hesitated.
Trump voters understood they were electing a man with flaws. They did so because they believed he could deliver. And he has done so in many way, from cutting regulations to cracking down on illegal immigration to withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accords.
Yet big goals remain unfulfilled. Congress, squandering a unique chance to fulfill every promise made for eight years, is largely to blame. But the buck stops with the president, who needs to focus.
The staff shakeup on Friday, with John Kelly taking over as chief of staff, was necessary and probably overdue. The whiteboard of promises in Steve Bannon’s office remains crucial, and Kelly’s task will be to prioritize those agenda items, while bringing discipline to White House operations.
The tone, however, must be set from the top. President Trump has to project confidence in his team, his policies, and ultimately in himself to turn things around quickly.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.