It’s important to note before I get into this story that I’m not a Donald Trump fan. I’m a conservative and a Federalist who believes the GOP is heading in the wrong direction. These aren’t the opinions of a Trump Train ticket-carrying MAGA member. I’m agreeing with the White House begrudgingly.
With that said, they’re right. In today’s briefing, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the President hasn’t alienated people in Congress, but rather “Congress has alienated itself” by missing on pretty much every legislative goal since the President took office. This is 100% true. Granted, the President hasn’t helped them make their way through this mess, but that’s not his job. They’re supposed to pass legislation and he’s supposed to sign or veto it. That’s how our system works.
Congress has been splintered, at least on the GOP side. The Democrats seem to be in lockstep in their opposition to the entire GOP agenda. Republicans, however, have not been in lockstep at all. They’re pushing forward weak legislation that still has trouble getting the furthest on the left and the furthest on the right in their caucus to approve. This is a clear lack of leadership, not from Trump, but from people like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
These are the men to blame, but they’re not alone. Republican leadership doesn’t stop with them. Senior members like John McCain, Kevin McCarthy, and Lindsey Graham have failed to unite the GOP behind the agenda. Most agree in theory, but the details lose them every time. Why? Because they aren’t being steadfast in the small-government, conservative, federalism-minded doctrine that the party espouses during campaign season. They’re acting like victims and failing to adhere to the message they put out every election.
Defunding Planned Parenthood is a big promise many of them have made over the years. It would take two lines of legislation and a week to push forward. Why haven’t they? That’s not the President’s fault.
Repealing Obamacare is a huge promise literally all of them have made at one time or another over the past six or seven years. This, too, isn’t hard; they passed a clean repeal in 2015 and put it on President Obama’s desk. Why can’t they do the same today? Because they were bluffing. They only passed it knowing the President would veto it. Now that they have a President who would either sign it or embarrass himself by vetoing it, suddenly they’re impotent.
Tax reform… we’ll see. I’m not hopeful.
I could go on listing item after item that they’ve failed to deliver, but one thing is clear: the President cannot force them to put something on his desk. He can beg. He can issue demands. He can even have his staff write it up for them. What he can’t get them to do is vote for any of it. That’s on them. This alienation they’re experiencing is not coming from the White House. It’s coming from Capitol Hill itself.
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said President Trump has not alienated anyone on the Hill, instead “Congress has alienated itself” by failing to pass legislation, she added.
The backdrop: Trump has personally attacked certain GOP senators, including Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Sen. John McCain and, most recently, Sen. Bob Corker.