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100 Days of Trump: Conservatives seek return of the 2016 version of Donald Trump

Is Donald Trump just too nice of a guy?

Many Americans would have thought such an assertion unimaginable during last year’s campaign. But the coarse-talking “bombastic” New Yorker famous for doing whatever it took to make “great deals” on real estate transactions and for firing losers on his own reality TV show has revealed a softer side ever since taking the Trump and Rubiooath of office for president.

Gone is 2016’s bold pledge to deport every single illegal alien. Gone too is the tough rhetoric on ditching NATO and labeling China a currency manipulator. Also history are the cut-to-the-bone nicknames for political opponents; there’s no more “Crooked Hillary,” “Lyin’ Ted,” “Little Marco” and “Low energy Jeb” in Trump’s vernacular these days.

President Trump has apparently even relinquished his demand for Congress to fund the U.S./Mexico border wall – and it has a lot of Trump’s supporters concerned as we rapidly approach the end of his first 100 days in office.

David M. Drucker of the Washington Examiner writes, “Trump on Tuesday continued to walk back his threat to withhold $7 billion for Obamacare subsidies from an omnibus spending bill and let the government shut down on Saturday if Democrats opposed a dollar-for-dollar swap in funding for a wall along the Southern border.

“The legislation, to fund the government through Oct. 1, was expected to include an appropriation for border enforcement, a provision the White House was touting as a win and part of necessary planning in advance of wall construction.”

Trump was threatening to pull Obamacare subsidies if the Democrats didn’t relent on the wall. Hiding behind filibuster power for any budget deal, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said “no way.” Trump blinked and now conservatives are worried it will set an awful precedent for future negotiations with the irascible Democrats.

Where did the “old” mean Trump go? Again, has he become too nice?

Logic says probably not; the new kinder, gentler Trump is likely the product of bad advice from his establishment handlers such as chief of staff Reince Priebus and Chief Economic Advisor and liberal Democrat Gary Cohn. This latest reversal also has the fingerprints of weak-kneed eternally capitulating Speaker Paul Ryan all over it. Ryan probably told Trump that any insistence on defunding Obamacare’s regulatory mandates or requiring money for the border wall would lead to a certain government shutdown.

This could be true, but why? Republicans have a sizeable majority in the House and enough votes in the Senate to put a great deal of pressure on the Democrats, don’t they? And in the alternative, if Democrats are willing to tolerate a government shutdown over matters such as funding Planned Parenthood and Obamacare (not to mention withholding money from a border wall), why aren’t Republicans calling their bluff? Who’s in charge here? Who won the election?

Besides, a shutdown wouldn’t be the end of the world and could even conceivably help Trump politically because Americans would then see how easy it is to get by without a lot of government fluff – the “non-essential” federal goodies that cost a lot but most people don’t even think about.

Who really suffers? Not many.

The “old” brash Trump would’ve sat across the negotiating table from Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer and told them all to go pound sand if they didn’t bend to his demands. The new “nice” Trump seems more than willing to not only compromise on his priorities, he’s bending over backwards to accommodate the establishment leaders’ wish lists – all of them.

The truth is, Congress doesn’t deserve such deference. Congress has had more than enough opportunities to put the money forward to fund its own laws and has failed to do so due to a lack of political will. Such weakness should not be rewarded or abided.

Charles Hurt of the Washington Times wrote, “A full decade after voting to construct a secure barrier along the U.S. border with Mexico, Congress continues to refuse to lay out the money required to build the damned wall.

“This, even after the stunning upset in last year’s elections by the juggernaut presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump, who won the presidency on a clarion vow to voters that he would once and for all build a wall along the border. Mr. Trump’s historic upset came after years and years of both Democrat and Republican politicians talking tough about illegal immigration and promising to crack down on the porous border, yet refusing to actually fix the problem.”

Hurt is correct; the leadership of both parties share fault and Trump should not allow them to get by without accounting for their own failures. If Trump lets this one slide what will Ryan and Schumer demand the next time, that he give up his income tax returns?

Meanwhile, none other than Ted Cruz introduced his own solution to the wall funding dilemma – and it even has a catchy name.

Autumn Price of The Resurgent reports, “Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced the Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order (EL CHAPO) Act today.

“The bill would reserve ‘any amounts forfeited to the U.S. Government as a result of the criminal prosecution of ‘El Chapo’ (formally named Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman Lorea) and other drug lords for border security assets and the completion of the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border,’ the Senator’s press release states.”

In essence the U.S. government is seeking $14 billion from the prosecution of the infamous “El Chapo,” money that if recovered could be devoted to not only building the wall, it could pay for hiring an army of border patrol officers in addition. Mexico would be paying for it one way or another, right?

Ted’s idea is pure genius, but I’m guessing far too simple for Congress to actually act upon. Besides, Schumer and Pelosi – and Ryan -- would probably prefer letting the drug lords go since they’re just “immigrants” looking for a better life…or campaign contributors.

In reality, Cruz’s bill is what leadership looks like and it comes from none other than Trump’s favorite 2016 Republican punching bag. We shouldn’t forget it’s almost been a year since the fateful Indiana primary (which took place on May 3rd), the final competitive contest in the Republican race.

Trump prevailed that day by almost 17-points, Cruz gave his surprise withdrawal speech and the conservative world was temporarily thrown into chaos. Some splintered into #NeverTrump purgatory but the vast majority of us realized Trump was a much superior alternative to having Hillary Clinton and the Democrats occupy the White House for another four years.

At the very least, we all figured, Trump would fight hard for his core agenda. Though Trump wasn’t – and still isn’t – a principled conservative his message was right on and he seemed to possess the intestinal fortitude necessary to battle the establishment forces allied against him to bring real change to Washington.

Over time, most of us came to appreciate and even like Trump, personality flaws and all. It’s safe to say the feeling still holds, but we also wish some of that “old” Trump we came to know and value would return to kick some elitist behind on Capitol Hill now.

Perhaps Trump should also bring back his famous nicknames…and come up with one for the Washington establishment. No doubt it would be a very popular decision with the People.

Another outrageous ruling by a liberal judge could bring out the “old” Trump

Just because President Trump appears to have unwisely capitulated in the ongoing budget negotiations with congressional leaders doesn’t mean the “old” Trump is completely gone.

Yesterday Trump forcefully responded to another outrageous ruling from a federal judge that stayed his executive order denying federal money to sanctuary cities.

Kyle Feldscher of the Washington Examiner reports, “President Trump ripped the Tuesday decision by a federal court to strike down his executive order blocking federal funding from sanctuary cities, in a series of tweets Wednesday morning…

“’First the Ninth Circuit rules against the ban & now it hits again on sanctuary cities-both ridiculous rulings. See you in the Supreme Court!’ Trump tweeted. The sanctuary city ruling was made by a federal judge in San Francisco, and the ruling would be appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals if the administration presses the case.

“Trump also accused his opponents of bringing cases in the 9th Circuit on purpose, since that circuit has a history of being friendly to Democrats.”

This Democrat “judge shopping” accusation should not be passed off as sour grapes. There are many groups on the left that specifically target certain judges for favorable rulings. As the two stayed executive orders concerning travel from war-torn countries demonstrated, the 9th circuit is fertile ground for liberals who want to make a point.

There have been several studies from conservative organizations detailing the ideological malleability of the infamous 9th circuit. Just off the top of my head the western courts were responsible for overturning California trendsetting ballot initiatives on same-sex marriage and affirmative action, among others. Need a liberal to overrule the will of the people? Look out there.

But the larger point in Trump’s tweet concerns the “See you in the Supreme Court!” claim. With Justice Neil Gorsuch now safely seated on the high Court there’s at least a chance that such outrageous and groundless unilateral action by rogue federal judges will finally be stopped. Hence, the importance of maintaining a majority on the Supreme Court and getting Trump’s other appointments confirmed to the various appellate courts around the country (there are apparently close to 100 vacancies, which should be a high priority).

That’s not all. The Trump administration is moving to get his brand of U.S. attorneys in place too. Josh Dawsey and Josh Gerstein of Politico report, “The White House has struck tentative agreements with more than a dozen senators on picks to fill U.S. attorney positions left vacant since early March, according to officials at the White House and on Capitol Hill.

“White House chief counsel Don McGahn has spent much of the past three weeks meeting with senators and their staff, the officials say. The administration hopes to announce some of the appointments in the next three weeks, according to three people familiar with their thinking.”

While it’s certainly good news that the Trump team is finally moving on important staffing needs, the Politico writers made it clear Democrats intend to do everything in their power to delay confirmations, just as they’ve done for Trump’s cabinet appointments and Justice Neil Gorsuch.

Even though the filibuster is no longer an option for judicial or administration appointments there are other means – such as the “blue slip” – to make it as difficult as possible to get personnel in place. If the past five and a half months are any indication, Democrat senators are in no mood to pass along any of Trump’s nominees without some sort of blocking tactic.

It’s the modern political world we live in where a lot of self-interested people run for office just to gum up the system. They’re sore losers too. This is yet another area where maybe a little bit of the “old” Donald Trump could be useful.

I bet if the Democrats make life hard enough for Trump, that’s exactly what they’ll get.

After nearly 100 days the press is still wondering what’s wrong with Melania Trump

Another area where we may yet see the reintroduction of the “old” Donald Trump is the press’s harsh treatment of first lady Melania Trump. Ever since inauguration day the smarmy elitists in the media have been snooping and criticizing the first lady for her lack of public presence and a speculated intentional “distance” from her husband. Some have even labeled her the “reluctant first lady.”

Even if it were true it’s nobody’s business. The president’s wife has no constitutional role and if Melania chooses to remain completely out of view, who’s to say she’s in the wrong? But the talk continues nonetheless.

Emily Goodin of Real Clear Politics reports, “Comparisons between first ladies may not be fair but they are inevitable. And as Trump finishes her first 100 days in the most public, yet non-defined, role in the country, questions linger as to what kind of first lady the Slovenia native will be.

“Laura Bush’s love of reading shone through during her time in the White House. Michelle Obama called herself the mom-in-chief. If Melania Trump doesn’t carve out her own identity soon, she risks having one carved out for her.”

By whom, the media? The tabloids?

They’ll likely begin with a list of questions: Where’s Melania? Are they having marital problems? Is Donald still hung up on Ivanka? Is Barron autistic? Why doesn’t Barron smile more? Will Melania and Barron really move to the White House or are they staying in New York? Is it because Donald really does have small hands?

The talkers’ treatment of Melania and the entire Trump family is just the latest example of their morbid over-curiosity surrounding every Republican president’s kin. The media played up the Bush daughters’ fondness for partying. Reagan’s children were strange because the son liked ballet and the daughter was a hippy. It goes on and on…

Meanwhile, the media adored the “brilliant” first lady Hillary Clinton, Chelsea was “cute” growing up in the White House and the Obamas were the embodiment of the 21st century American family ideal. You can’t criticize them -- one writer was even fired for suggesting the Obama daughters dressed too casually.

It’s a familiar double standard we’re all used to. Republicans are weird or geeky and Democrats are cool. Ho hum.

Don’t look for Trump to take such outside sniping lightly. As it should be, he protects his flock with a ferocity befitting a mother grizzly bear. It’s a bit of the “old” Trump that will certainly reemerge if he’s pushed far enough.

As for Melania, she’s been the perfect first lady in my view. Why? She lets her husband, the elected one, take the spotlight. One can only hope her example rubs off on future first ladies – or husbands.

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