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Trump Taking on Conservatives in Another Round

Freedom Caucus
Written by Fred Lucas

President Donald Trump, having lost to the conservative wing of his party on the Obamacare replacement bill, opted to declare war on a group that he might need.

Trump never pretended to be an ideological purist and he’s not the first person to capture the Republican nomination without being a Reaganite. Mitt Romney and John McCain certainly weren’t. But, they curried favor with the conservatives—often invoking President Ronald Reagan.

It’s safe to say that if either McCain or Romney had been elected, they wouldn’t have toed the conservative line. They might have even run up on a policy defeat at the hands of the House Freedom Caucus—or some comparable group of conservatives. McCain and Romney, though, would have likely felt the need to keep them in the fold, even if they found them to be an annoying ally.

Trump essentially threatened to put the weight of the White House behind primary challenges during a tweet storm on March 30.

Trump ran against the establishment. A lot of tea party conservatives, who were excited about his vow to drain the swamp, backed him up. Some were even willing to abandon the far more conservative Ted Cruz in the GOP primaries. At any rate, he seems to be siding with the Republican establishment he ran against.

The alternative bill to Obamacare was backed by the GOP establishment. When pundits didn’t call it Trumpcare, they called it Ryancare. For the president to demand that the anti-establishment “get on the team” and “get on board” sounds almost heretical for what tea party members feel they were elected to do.

Trump wouldn’t be the first president to face frustration in his early months in office. President John F. Kennedy had the Bay of Pigs. President Jimmy Carter failed to get key appointments confirmed and failed on getting early government reforms passed through a Congress run by his own party.

There is a lesson for all the paranoid, hysterical folks on the left who swear that Trump is on the verge of becoming a dictator. Trump not only couldn’t get a key legislative goal through the legislative branch, he lost because of his own party. Before that, another branch of government, the judiciary, put a hold on his immigration order. Love or hate either of these policies, separation of powers is alive and well.


Fred Lucas is a columnist for Political Storm and the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal. He is the author of Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections (Stairway Press, 2016).

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About the author

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is a veteran political reporter and White House correspondent.

He has reported national politics and public affairs for, TheBlaze, The Weekly Standard, Townhall, and other media outlets.

Before coming to Washington, Fred was an award-winning state capitol reporter in Kentucky and Connecticut. He has been a guest on several political talk shows and is the author of two books, most recently “Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections” (Stairway Press, 2016).

He earned a Masters at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and a BA at Western Kentucky University. He lives with his wife Basia and dog Jake in Northern Virginia.