Trump isn’t pivoting

By Aristophanes

This week, President Trump betrayed his own party.

The Washington Post reports the president will side with congressional Democrats on a contentious debt ceiling battle. Instead of pushing a vote on raising the country’s borrowing limit back by 18 or 12 months, Congress, with the president’s backing, has decided to forestall the decision by a mere three months.

The legislation enacting the deal also contains provisions to provide federal aid to victims of Hurricane Harvey. The House and Senate have both passed respective versions, meaning some form of the measure is well on its way to becoming law.

As of Friday morning, all of the no votes, three in the House and 17 in the Senate, had been cast by Republicans.

House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republicans who, together, control the majorities of both houses of Congress, were understandably upset. The two leaders wanted to push a vote on the debt ceiling further into the future — ideally, after the 2018 midterm elections — so as to focus the legislature on specific partisan priorities, such as tax reform.

According to The Post, Trump and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer discussed additional cross-party collaboration concerning a full repeal of the debt ceiling. A permanent repeal, mind you. Now wouldn’t that get the House Freedom Caucus in a tussle?

And Schumer isn’t the only Democrat with whom Trump’s been dealing. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi urged the president to publicize a message of comfort to those fearful of the future of an Obama-era program for deferred action on illegal childhood arrivals, a policy, called “DACA,” which Trump rescinded Tuesday.

Trump listened. On Thursday, he tweeted it out.

Is it the Second Coming? Is Trump finally, truly making a pivot to the center?

Don’t count on it.

Our president is a 71-year-old man from a background of wealth, status and success. He will pivot the day he dies, from a life of bluster and menace into a cold and lonely grave.

Until then, don’t believe a word you hear about this supposed turn to moderation.

However, that doesn’t mean the president won’t pursue more deals with the Democrats. If Trump has been consistent in anything, it’s in being inconsistent. There’s certainly no love lost between him and the Republican establishment. By contrast, Trump seems to actually enjoy the company of Schumer and Pelosi — or, as he recently referred to them, “Chuck and Nancy.”

What could be next: Enacting a stronger legislative version of DACA? Broad-ranging immigration reform? Maybe a cross-party infrastructure stimulus package?

When it comes to Trump, God only knows.

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