Trump using Trumpian rhetoric, pursuing NeverTrumper policies

When President Trump entered office a year ago without any prior political experience or a clearly defined ideology, it was very hard to predict how he’d govern. We now have a better idea, but any assessment of his presidency to date will differ depending on whether one is considering his rhetoric or his policies.

The simple way of looking at it is that Trump’s words and tweets are very consistent with the broadly Trumpian rhetoric that galvanized supporters during his campaign. But his policy achievements are actually much more consistent with the goals of those more conventional Republicans who identified themselves as NeverTrumpers.

Given that the terms “Trumpian” and “NeverTrumper” are a bit loaded, it’s worthy clarifying the context in which I’m using them.

As a candidate, Trump was a bombastic personality who disrupted the political world with outrageous statements and actions that broke the mold of what a presidential candidate could be. His myriad policy proposals were a mix of standard Republican agenda items with more populist stances on immigration, trade, infrastructure spending, and government negotiation of drug prices.