The president is sending his base a clear message: He’s still fighting even if his policies stumble.
President Donald Trump is on a mission to show supporters he’s still the same fighter they elected.
He pushed back against establishment Washington on Thursday with a one-two punch — first by giving conservative bloggers a space to air their grievances about anti-conservative media bias, and then by announcing an executive order to collect data about immigrants after the courts blocked him from adding a citizenship question to the census.
The actions — like so many other policies and events being organized by the Trump White House — aren’t likely to yield substantive policy changes. But they’re designed to appeal to the president’s conservative base as he heads into a tough reelection fight.
“That’s what the president does better than anyone: He fights,” said longtime Republican operative Ben Marchi, a Trump delegate to the 2016 national convention. “His ability to ‘never say die’ is one that doesn’t mesh with the Georgetown establishment. They view it as simple-minded and unintelligent, but the reality is that regular Americans appreciate his dogged persistence.”
Across a 12-hour period Thursday, in speeches and on Twitter, Trump stepped directly onto some of the most volatile fault lines that could rev up his fiercest supporters: immigration, the Pledge of Allegiance, social media bias, unfair trade with China, big banks, Iran, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference, impeachment and, of course, individuals Democratic candidates for president.
For two and a half years, Trump has railed against Democrats, the media and nearly all of Washington’s established institutions — caring little about perceptions by anyone but supporters who flocked to him in 2016 because they were frustrated by business as usual, people close to Trump say.