I wonder if this spin, that Scarborough and Brzezinski started it, is strategic or if it’s a more simple matter of Huckabee Sanders knowing that a Trump spokesman does not apologize for something the boss said, making doubling down her only option. Evidence that it was strategic: Ronna Romney McDaniel, the new chair of the RNC, made the same point on Bloomberg television this morning, arguing that “Morning Joe” made this personal first with its attacks on Trump, never mind whether the president should stoop to sh*t-flinging with cable-news hacks. Presented with a mess that’s so difficult to clean up, Sanders and McDaniel are basically shrugging and saying it’s Joe’s and Mika’s responsibility to do the cleaning. That’s probably their best play, especially with Trump ramping up his media criticism lately. Populists like the fact that he goes on offense against the media. This is part of that playbook.
Not all Trumpers like it, though. Victor Davis Hanson:
There may be advantages, as Obama discovered, in lowering the presidential bar to resonate the flavors of popular culture, but right now no one is accusing Trump of being a stuffed shirt, but rather of not focusing enough on getting health care and tax reform through Congress, which in turn would provide the momentum for far more long-needed legislation.
When you talk to the proverbial Trump base, they are happy with the Trump agenda and his pushback against the media, but usually voice only one worry: “When is he going to cut back on those tweets?” — again not because they object to Trump’s targets, but because they feel their shared agenda is weakened by wasted efforts and the tweets tend to take the stake out from a hemorrhaging vampirish media.
Is it true that Trump fans want him to cut back on the tweets, though? It’s true that when you poll Americans, most say they wish he’d tweet less. But even prominent Trump fans like Ann Coulter who’ve smacked him around for not doing enough to advance his populist agenda can be wooed with effective media-bashing. Yesterday Coulter took Sean Hannity to task in a column for not being more critical of Trump’s habit of hiring top advisors from Goldman Sachs. Quote: “The motto of we longtime Trump supporters is: NO TREATS FOR DOING NOTHING!”
Whereas I renew my love for Trump after his Tweets. https://t.co/8nop04XcDs
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) June 29, 2017
No one was alienated by this morning’s tweets who wasn’t already alienated, and some on the right who were on their way to being alienated have been (momentarily) won back over. The question mark is how many Hansons are out there vis-a-vis Coulters. Trump has slipped a bit over the past few months in terms of the share of Americans who “strongly support” him. Does the escalating war with the media boost that number back up or sink it further?
Update: More Sanders from today’s White House briefing: “Americans knew what they were getting when they elected Donald Trump.” When she’s right, she’s right.