Good lord. You mean Trump really was willing to block that atrocious spending sellout to Democrats, only to have his mind changed by the Ghost of RINOs Past — at the behest of establishment goblin Reince Priebus?
How is there not an Eric Cantor cameo in this story too?
This is worse than Trump going full cuck on Islam.
Behind-the-scenes: When the spending bill had been negotiated and finalized, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus phoned the former House Speaker John Boehner and told him the president doesn’t like how the negotiation came out and is thinking about vetoing the bill. Boehner has told associates that Priebus asked him if he could talk Trump into signing the spending bill. Boehner said he would.
Ten minutes later, Boehner’s phone rang. It was the President. Boehner made a couple different arguments to Trump about why he should sign the spending bill:
1. He told Trump he should be happy about the fact that he doesn’t have to give a dollar of domestic spending in exchange for increases in military spending. And he got a substantial boost in military spending.
2. The most important argument Boehner made: the last thing you need right now is a government shutdown.
Axios notes that there’s no proof that the chat with Boehner was “determinative,” but the fact remains that Boehner’s position carried the day. I don’t know what’s weirder, Reince deciding to turn to Mr Establishment in a pinch to try to sway Trump or his strategy actually working. The last person you would think might successfully influence a populist is a guy despised by the grassroots righties who fueled Trumpmania in the primaries last year. Fairly or not, Boehner was seen as typifying the sort of milquetoast, compromise-minded Beltway Republican whose swamp Trump was sent to Washington to drain. Suddenly the president’s presented with a swampy spending package that he rightly wants to veto, and it’s a personal appeal from Swamp Thing that gets him to back down.
How did Priebus know that would work? A hundred different people could have explained to Trump that a government shutdown would be perilous for a president who’s unpopular outside his base and besieged by Russiagate developments in Congress and the DOJ. And a hundred different people probably did. Which makes me wonder if this leak was orchestrated by someone looking to damage Trump by inflating Boehner’s role in his thinking, knowing how that would play with the grassroots. Possibly the source is Boehner himself or someone close to him; Axios doesn’t say but notes that “Boehner has told associates” about his interaction with Trump, suggesting that the story came from their side. Maybe some anti-Trumper who’s pals with the former Speaker and feels exasperated by Trump and all the Russia/Flynn/Comey stuff lately wanted to add to Trump’s pain by whispering to the media about his huddle with Boehner.
Which is to say, maybe there’s an Eric Cantor cameo here after all.
Nah, I’m just kidding. If anyone convinced Trump to sell out to Democrats on spending, it’s far more likely to have been the actual Democrats he’s surrounded himself with.