By Dan Phillips
My social media feed is erupting with Trump supporters already panicking that Donald Trump is selling us out. The appointment of Republican National Committee head Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff seems to be of particular concern to many. My advice to my fellow Trump supporters is to take a couple of deep breaths and relax. Remember that the MSM is deliberately trying to sow discord among us and harm the Trump Administration before it even begins. Don’t take the bait. At least give this all some time to work itself out before you hit the panic button.
I know we supported Trump because he was the anti-Establishment candidate, and it would be emotionally satisfying if he came in and just started cleaning house and installing our guys, but you have to remember that you also ultimately have to get things done. The problem with electing a novice, and I’m not criticizing us for doing so, is that he can’t surround himself only with other novices and expect to be effective. There is a fine line to walk between allowing yourself to be co-opted and surrounding yourself with enough people who understand the system to get things done. Let’s wait and see how well Trump walks this line. Right now, it’s way too early to tell.
I’m not a fan of Reince Priebus, and I don’t entirely trust him. He is the consummate insider as almost all RNC heads, by their very nature, are, but his selection as Chief of Staff is not necessarily a disaster. Priebus, and most of the rest of the GOP Establishment (GOPe), clearly did not want Trump to be the nominee, but he indicated fairly early on that the Republican Party would abide by the wishes of its primary voters, and he did not mount an all-out effort to deny Trump the nomination. Once Trump was clearly the nominee, you could argue that he has actually been a good soldier. I thought he did a good job with the Republican Convention, which due to the nature of the nominee was somewhat irregular and had to be assembled on the fly.
As I have pointed out before, in general, it has not been GOPe functionaries who have resisted Trump tooth and nail. While they were in almost all cases not happy with his successful campaign and ultimate nomination, they by and large accepted it as a fait accompli and worked with it. The primary elements opposing Trump to the bitter end were movement conservative ideologues and, for some reason, GOPe politicians – Kasich, the Bushes, Ryan, Romney, Graham, etc. Recall that some movement con ideologues even accused the GOPe of deliberately joining forces with Trump to crush “conservatism,” and Priebus specifically was criticized by them for not doing enough to stop Trump.
There is potentially something to be said for rewarding someone for being a good soldier even when he would have preferred another nominee. Who knows what deals have already been made? Perhaps Priebus was promised a role in the Trump Administration in exchange for shepherding the post Trump nomination GOP in a non-antagonistic manner. Also, the Priebus appointment will allow Trump to name a Trump friendly person to head the RNC. That the RNC nominee is good on the trio of issues that set Trumpism apart – immigration restriction, rejection of free trade ideology and a more restrained America first foreign policy – will be a better tell of the direction this thing is going to go than is the appointment of Priebus as Chief of Staff.
Remember that we already have Steve Bannon as a key policy advisor, Kris Kobach on the transition team, Stephen Miller reportedly as National Policy Director and maybe Laura Ingraham as Press Secretary. Once again, let’s give this some time to work itself out before we start panicking. We owe Trump that much.