Con­ser­va­tives stick with Trump de­spite lack of leg­isla­tive wins.

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY S.A. MILLER

Con­ser­va­tive lead­ers aren’t jump­ing off the Trump Train that they say is mov­ing the coun­try in the right di­rec­tion, de­spite Pres­i­dent Trump’s in­abil­ity to get any­thing done in Congress.

Mr. Trump re­ceived a free pass for the fal­ter­ing health care bill in the Se­nate, which many con­ser­va­tives balked at as not a com­plete re­peal of Oba­macare, be­cause the pres­i­dent is keep­ing other top prom­ises such as putting a solid con­ser­va­tive jus­tice on the Supreme Court and rolling back fed­eral reg­u­la­tions.

“Pres­i­dent Trump is not re­spon­si­ble for what has hap­pened in Congress so far on health care. The House and Se­nate are in Repub­li­can hands,” said Gary Bauer, pres­i­dent of Amer­i­can Val­ues and a 2000 Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial-pri­mary can­di­date.

For one thing, he said, Mr. Trump was hon­or­ing his pledge to be a pro-life leader.

“On the larger pic­ture of how he’s done, I think he has hit a num­ber of home runs,” said Mr. Bauer. “He’s tire­less. Whether they get it or not, ev­ery day he is tu­tor­ing Repub­li­cans on how to take a punch and keep on fight­ing.”

Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder and na­tional co­or­di­na­tor of the Tea Party Pa­tri­ots, said the jury is still out on the pres­i­dent’s leg­isla­tive agenda — but what he has done with ex­ec­u­tive or­ders and nom­i­na­tions hits the con­ser­va­tive mark.

“We would give him an A on the things he’s done so far,” she said She cred­its the pres­i­dent with the suc­cess­ful nom­i­na­tion of Neil M. Gor­such to the Supreme Court, re­duced il­le­gal cross­ing at the south­ern border, ex­pand­ing U.S. en­ergy pro­duc­tion and rein­ing in fed­eral reg­u­la­tions.

“We are op­ti­mistic that he’s go­ing to re­peal and re­place Oba­macare and re­form the tax code in a way that will grow the econ­omy,” Ms. Martin said.

Still, jit­ters about the re­peal-and-re­place bill added to a stock mar­ket plunge Thurs­day that was led by a sell-off in tech stocks. In the largest sin­gle-day de­cline in six weeks, the Dow Jones in­dus­trial av­er­age fell 167 points, or 0.8 per­cent, to 21,287, and the tech-heavy Nas­daq dropped 90 points, or 1.4 per­cent, to 6,144.

Mr. Trump has con­sis­tently pointed to the Wall Street rally since he took of­fice as a sign of an eco­nomic re­birth he spawned. The pres­i­dent also is tak­ing it on the chin in the polls.

Mr. Trump’s ap­proval rat­ing re­mained up­side down in the Marist Poll re­leased Thurs­day, with just 37 per­cent of Amer­i­cans say­ing they ap­prove of the job he’s do­ing and 51 per­cent dis­ap­prov­ing. Twice the num­ber of Amer­i­cans — 40 per­cent — said they strongly dis­ap­prove of Mr. Trump’s per­for­mance as pres­i­dent than the 20 per­cent who strongly ap­prove.

“The prob­lem fac­ing Pres­i­dent Trump is two-fold,” said Lee M. Miringoff, di­rec­tor of the Marist Col­lege In­sti­tute for Public Opin­ion. “Not only is his job per­for­mance rat­ing low, but there are trou­ble­some signs for him in the fu­ture. An in­creas­ing num­ber of in­de­pen­dents think the na­tion is headed in the wrong di­rec­tion, be­lieve his de­ci­sions have weak­ened the econ­omy, and his ac­tions have di­min­ished the role of the U.S. on the world stage.”

A Suf­folk Univer­sity/USA To­day Poll showed a sim­i­lar ero­sion of sup­port for Mr. Trump and the GOP, with nearly 75 per­cent say­ing they are ei­ther un­easy or alarmed about what’s go­ing on in Wash­ing­ton.

Mr. Trump’s un­fa­vor­able rat­ing ticked up 8 points to 55 per­cent since the same poll in March. About 40 per­cent of Amer­i­cans had a fa­vor­able view of the pres­i­dent, com­pared to 45 per­cent who said that in March.

The num­bers didn’t im­press Grover Norquist, founder and pres­i­dent of Amer­i­cans for Tax Re­form. “He got elected with lousy num­bers. He can gov­ern with lousy num­bers,” he said.

Mr. Norquist said the low poll num­bers could be at­trib­uted, in part, to Mr. Trump’s some­times er­ratic be­hav­ior. But more likely the polls re­flected how “the press is com­pletely at war with him.”

He noted that Ron­ald Rea­gan suf­fered a sim­i­lar, though less se­vere, neg­a­tive treat­ment by the news me­dia and even­tu­ally saw his poll num­bers fall.

Rea­gan’s ap­proval rat­ing ap­proached 70 per­cent in his first months in of­fice in 1981 but fell be­low 40 per­cent in early 1983, ac­cord­ing to Gallup.

Mr. Norquist also was op­ti­mistic that Mr. Trump would pre­vail on health care and tax re­form.

“Pres­i­dents don’t pass laws. He’s only got 52 votes in the Se­nate, and they are not all Rea­gan Repub­li­cans,” he said. “I be­lieve you will see a health care bill and a tax bill that has 75 per­cent of ev­ery­thing I might want or can imag­ine would pass. It’s not 100 per­cent, but both of those would be huge steps for­ward.”

Mr. Trump’s base is stick­ing with him, too.

“I haven’t seen him tak­ing most of the fire,” said Christo­pher Reid, who co-hosts a con­ser­va­tive talk show on the Yel­lowham­mer News web­site in Alabama, adding that his call­ers are di­rect­ing their anger at Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch Mc­Connell and, to a lesser ex­tent, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan.

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