The startling agreement President Trump and Democratic leaders came to last week over raising the debt ceiling and aid for victims of Hurricanes Harvey has suggested to many that Mr. Trump is fed up with Congressional Republican colleagues who won’t have his back and that Democrats sense Mr. Trump may be ready to deal and compromise on key issues.
Perhaps we finally are on the cusp of the long anticipated Trump “pivot,” with the president willing to moderate his campaign goals of completely upending embedded liberal policies. Surely, the all-out, take no prisoners political war that has been waged by Democrats since January 20 has frustrated many of his initiatives and contributed to a sense of a White House in disarray.
But the more intriguing question is why have many Democrats – who challenged the 2016 election results with voter recount projects, attempted Electoral College mischief, claims of presidential financial shenanigans, and warnings of impending impeachment – suddenly softened their tone?
We sensed something going on in Democratic circles several weeks back when Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who sits on both the Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees, refused to be drawn into talk of impeachment and called for “patience” with Mr. Trump, saying she believed he could be a good president if he tried. She went on to say that voters were tired of hearing Democrats bad-mouthing Mr. Trump.
Perhaps she’d noticed that even some initially hostile pundits were backtracking on their criticism of President Trump for having blaming the Charlottesville violence on both leftists and white supremacists. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, as partisan a Democrat as there is, was among the first to denounce the leftist group antifa for its militant and at times violent profile. Soon after, Ms. Pelosi echoed Sen. Feinstein’s comment about voters growing weary with the incessant Democratic savaging of the president.
Both leaders even had nice things to say about the Mr. Trump’s handling of Hurricane Harvey. And when President Trump announced his decision to dismantle the DACA anti-deportation program initiated by an Obama-era executive order, Sen. Feinstein acknowledged the program was on “shaky legal ground.”
Doubtless what moved the Democrats was the revelation that intelligence officials reported the antifa threat to the Obama administration some time ago with apparently no response from the president or any key aides. Perhaps Sen. Feinstein and Rep. Pelosi fear the political consequences if it emerges that President Obama actively ignored the intelligence community’s concerns about left-wing militancy.
In any event, while calculated political interest is doubtless driving the current aura of cooperation, things do seem to be moving in President Trump’s direction, at least for now.
For those with a special interest in the fortunes of Israel, this turn of events is especially welcome. Mr. Trump’s presidency holds the promise of unprecedented breakthroughs in the U.S.-Israel relationship. This feeling of close, sympathetic ties was underscored by remarks that David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, made at a 9/11 ceremony in Jerusalem on Monday:
[T]he only nation in the world (other than the U.S.) to build a 9/11 memorial containing the name of each and every victim…is the state of Israel…. Israel and the United States will always stand together and fight for the total defeat of radical Islamic terrorism.”
Ambassador Friedman went on to say that after years in which Americans mourned for deadly attacks in Israel, on September 11, “Israel mourned for America.”