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Trump keeps his focus on outrage


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Unlike his predecessors, this president sees policy as a diversion from the larger cultural battle he believes he was elected to fight.

President Donald Trump was expected to spend the fall pushing his ambitious tax reform agenda and helping devastated regions in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico recover from hurricanes.

Instead, over a period of three weeks, Trump has hammered the NFL into submission over the national anthem protests, repeatedly attacked the “fake news” media and now reopened a fight over his — and his predecessor’s — handling of Gold Star families.

But these seeming distractions are the president’s substance — and the legislative agenda his predecessors have approached with a singular focus is, for him, largely a diversion.

Since his inauguration in January, Trump’s sideshows have dominated the news coverage of his presidency, with his fellow Republicans often left struggling to understand why he insists on stoking major cultural battles rather than working to advance a traditional legislative agenda. It’s perhaps the fundamental misunderstanding of the Trump presidency — and helps explain the yawning chasm between the president and official Washington.

“His ‘issues’ are a series of episodes where he has a fight with some person who doesn’t want America to be great, like the NFL or Colin Kaepernick, and he wins,” said Bill Kristol, editor at large for The Weekly Standard.

While congressional Republicans have committed to repealing Obamacare, passing tax reform, and moving an infrastructure bill, Trump has staked his presidency on identity and culture — hence his Twitter rebukes of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for his failure to bring the GOP’s health care bill over the finish line. “I’m not going to blame myself, I’ll be honest,” Trump said earlier this week in the Cabinet Room.........

............“He thinks he was elected on this stuff, this is the stuff he knows how to talk about, and this is the stuff that would make the front page of the New York Post,” said Jonah Goldberg, senior editor of National Review. “The problem is, is that the job is still the job.” 

Read the full article at: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/18/trump-widows-flag-anthem-243928


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