By mid-day Friday, reports started trickling in that Steve Bannon was distancing himself as well. On Friday evening, after the legislation was pulled, President Trump made it clear he considered the House Freedom Caucus friends. Later, at the White House, President Trump privately reassured people as well that he did not blame conservatives or the House Freedom Caucus.
Then, this weekend, President Trump got on Twitter and railed against the conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus and the Club for Growth. What changed?
The truth is that moderates were a bigger problem, though you’d never know that from the Wall Street Journal and talking heads. Conservatives just wanted Republicans to keep their promises, but moderates kept moving the goal posts toward greater government.
In the end, three run of the mill Republicans, ten moderates, and House Freedom Caucus members all were opposed. As compromises moved left, leadership lost more of the right. As compromises moved right, leadership lost more of the left.
Washington establishment types always blame the conservatives. The Wall Street Journal editorial blaming conservatives over the weekend could have been written any time after No Child Left Behind passed in the Bush era. Paul Gigot wears knee pads for the establishment and always has.
But something changed pretty quickly with President Trump. It was not just his public statement, but private statements as well. Most troubling, however, President Trump told the American people on Friday that the House Freedom Caucus members were his friends and not to blame, then on Twitter, he attacked them.
Is someone else tweeting from his personal Twitter feed? Is he schizophrenic? Or is someone whispering in his ear that conservatives are the problem?
President Trump should note that the loudest voices supporting the American Health Care Act were the loudest voices attacking not just him, but his supporters as well. And they are the same voices that have consistently sold out conservatives and broken the Republicans’ promises.
President Trump is in the White House because of all those people breaking their promises and the public turning against them. He should be careful lest he align too closely with those the public has already rejected.