The dance of the pro-Trump Republican

The conversation with Risch was a classic of this new genre. On the one hand, the senator made little pretense of substantively agreeing with Trump on his approach to the world, rebuffing my efforts in the interview to get him to give any examples of issues on which he found Trump to have moved or moderated his positions. But he also never said a critical word about any Trump policy — even though our interview came on a day when the president was seeming to abandon the party’s views on gun control and blasting Risch’s “close, close, close personal friend,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Instead, Risch praised Trump, insisting that, despite the naysayers in the press and the handwringing U.S. allies, the president is actually growing in the job. “He’s gaining traction on this,” Risch told me, while also calling out Trump’s “determination,” “strong will,” and overall forceful approach.

In general, Risch adopted an extremely pragmatic view of Trump that suggests resignation, if not acceptance, of the president’s bomb-throwing ways. I call it the He-Is-What-He-Is Approach.