The hardening of Trump’s positions on key parts of his “America first” agenda comes just four months before November’s midterm elections. That is increasing the pressure on congressional Republicans to either embrace the most controversial tenets of his presidency or attempt to distance themselves from them in hopes of attracting the independent voters they will likely need to retain control of Congress.
“I think that’s the drama we’re going to see in the next few years — whether the beliefs that are being espoused by President Trump are going to firmly take root and take over the party, or are they going to be tested in real life,” said Tony Fratto, who served as a spokesman in the George W. Bush administration. “I think we’re going to see foreign policy failures and trade failures that will lead Republicans to say, that was a mistake. We need to go back to where we were on those issues.”
But the president’s allies say Trump’s message of American dominance, even at the risk of retreating from traditional Republican principles, resonates deeply with voters who have long shared Trump’s skepticism of military alliances and trade deals.