President Trump seemed to be cruising along throughout the spring. You could say he was on roll. Chief of Staff John Kelly had brought order and much-needed discipline to the staff, which in the president’s first year often seemed chaotic and was plagued with unforced errors. That scenario now seems to be a much rarer occurrence.
Of course, the president and his team continue to deal with a White House Press Corps fixated with the “Russia investigation” and many other issues that they deem damaging to the president’s tenure.
One only has to tune into the daily White House Press briefing to observe the hostility and rudeness exhibited by far too many members of the press toward the Trump presidency. Nothing is off limits, including petty and erroneous reports on the first lady and White House press secretary’s pie baking skills. Still, the president seemed to be weathering the storm.
The tax cuts and the rollback in regulations had kicked in. America is experiencing an economic boom not seen since the Reagan era.
Facts, as they say don’t lie. Or as John Adams said so well, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”
Record low unemployment, record low black unemployment, record low Hispanic employment, economic expansion, and a historic summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jung-Un all went well for the president.
The much-ballyhooed blue wave (the Democratic takeover of the House) has been dissipating and Republicans were optimistic about keeping the majority in the House and picking up seats in the Senate.
Then the president ran into a political firestorm over illegal immigration, specifically children being separated from their parents after crossing America’s southern border illegally.
The Democrats, and their allies in the mainstream media, smelled blood and kicked into high gear. Anchors on MSNBC wept, the rhetoric intensified, phrases such as “internment camps” and references to Nazis became common place. The optics, the pictures, the video, and the response from the Trump White House were not good.
Bipartisan outrage ensued.
Sensing a political disaster, President Trump and his team did a tactical retreat and went to plan B. He issued an executive order that keeps families together while their cases were being adjudicated.
Not satisfied, Democrats immediately pivoted to “families can’t be held indefinitely” responses. For the open borders crowd, this is a wedge issue to generate votes, pure and simple.
This is pivotal moment in the presidency of Donald J. Trump. In the view of this writer, it time to go over the heads of the elites and do a prime time Oval Office address.
He should outline the stakes: the threat to neighborhoods of gangs like MS-13; the cost of illegal immigration to the taxpayers; and discuss real, tangible solutions to the problems.
He needs to indicate that in September, if there no money in the continuing budget resolution for the border wall, he will veto the budget and shut down the government if necessary.
The President needs to be as tough on the “swamp” as he is on the North Korean dictator.
His political base expects no less and, in political terms, strong words from the president would be a base vote motivator in November.
Marc Rotterman is the host of “Front Row with Marc Rotterman,” a weekly public affairs program on UNC public television and the NC Channel. Follow him on Twitter @FrontRowMarc.