The relationship between Donald Trump and the rest of the GOP, which wAS never great at the best of times, has sunk to a new low as Trump talks about working with the Democratic Party on fiscal and immigration matters.
On Wednesday, Trump made a surprise deal with Democrats concerning the debt ceiling, promising to raise the limit for three months instead of the 18 months wanted by Republican congressional leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. And on Thursday, according to The Hill, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said that Trump had told her that the president would sign a bill protecting young undocumented immigrants from deportation, a pro-immigration measure which may dismay parts of his conservative base. The president had also considered wiping out the debt ceiling limit entirely, a card which Republicans had repeatedly used to fight against President Obama.
Congressional Republicans, in particular, have signaled their frustration with the President for his willingness to undercut his own party’s leadership. The Hill reported several prominent Republicans voicing their disappointment with the President, with one Republican criticizing how Trump seems to constantly change his viewpoints from day to day and fails to project unity. And throughout his Presidency, elected Republicans, such as Jeff Flake, John McCain, or Ben Sasse, among others, have criticized Trump for either his policy proposals or his more outlandish statements.
Trump’s sudden willingness to work with the Democrats could portend a seismic shift in how Democrats and Republicans will work and view the President, and both parties have their major challenges if such a shift occurs.
A major advantage Trump could have is that his supporters may be more willing to work with the Democrats than the Democratic Party’s supporters are willing to work alongside Trump. Some prominent Trump supporters like Ann Coulter, as per The Blaze, have signaled their outrage about the President working toward what she calls “amnesty.” But other Trump supporters said that the move shows Trump’s political skills, claiming that it will force Republicans to get behind their president or be left behind, as Trump works with the Democrats.
Meanwhile, Democratic supporters who have spent months castigating Trump’s decisions are wary of the idea of working with Trump now. Tom Toles of the Washington Post argued that the Democrats should not let Trump play the Democrats and Republicans off against each other. He stressed that the Democrats should avoid working with Trump and instead fight him every step of the way for the sake of progressive ideals. Other Democratic activists have voiced similar concerns to party leaders.
But while the Democratic leadership may have a tougher tightrope to walk across than Trump, the Congressional Republican leadership find themselves in a quandary as no one knows to what extent Trump will be willing to work with the Democrats. Is this vote a one-time thing or will Trump be willing to work with Democrats on measures where they may have some level of agreement such as protectionism? And how should the GOP respond?
Even if such questions will not be answered soon, there is no doubt that Trump’s deal could potentially rewrite much of current Washington politics.
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]