Sarah Sanders on Friday's surrender: Conservatives who actually have influence support him

Hoo boy. She’s really poking the bear here, casually taunting prominent righties who slammed Trump for caving on the shutdown. Uh … who are those people again? Besides Coulter.

Tomi Lahren did criticize Trump on Friday…

…but as I write this late Monday afternoon that’s her only comment about this that I’m aware of. Today she’s been tweeting about Kamala Harris. She hasn’t threatened to withhold her support from Trump in 2020, which is all the White House really cares about in the end.

Here’s a notable critic given his usual defenses of Trump:

“While the president pleased few of his supporters, if any, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer and the radical Dems [are] taking victory laps within minutes of the president’s 18-minute announcement,” [Lou] Dobbs, typically a staunch defender of Trump, said on the network.

“And the illegal immigrants are surely pleased at the prospect they may soon jump to the front of the line while legal immigrants aren’t even part of the discussion in the nation’s capital,” he added.

Dobbs is an unusual figure in righty media, as Vox’s Jane Coaston notes, because he keeps a foot in both populist camps on the right, the Trumpist loyal-at-all-costs wing and the nationalist keep-your-immigration-promises-or-else wing. Dobbs has been a true-blue border hawk for years, a man whose critiques of U.S. policy presaged the rise of Trumpy populism in 2016. He’s since evolved into a Trump cheerleader to a degree that matches and even sometimes exceeds Sean Hannity but screw him on immigration and you’ll hear about it, even if your name is Donald Trump. Dobbs was being true to himself with Friday’s criticism.

But it was, of course, mild criticism. To say that Democrats won the standoff isn’t even a critique, it’s an observation of fact. Like Lahren, Dobbs isn’t threatening to withhold his vote in 2020. In fact, per WaPo, he spoke to Trump during the negotiations with Democrats — a smart move by the president insofar as soliciting Dobbs’s views is destined to blunt his on-air criticism. Does anyone doubt that Dobbs will be tooting the horn on the Trump train again imminently?

It’s really just Coulter who’s mad and has any sort of major media reach. Maybe this comment by Sanders plus Trump hinting to the WSJ that he’s not returning her calls is a clue that they’re going to try to declare her persona non MAGA like they did to Steve Bannon. Then it’s her move: Primary Trump and make vicious enemies of 90 percent of his fans or back down and gratify yourself by tweeting occasionally that he’s a “wimp.”

Exit question: Do any of the people I just named still even identify as “conservative,” to borrow Sanders’s term? Remember this?

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