This week’s White House Report Card finds the president polling pretty good and riding a warm welcome on the world economic stage. But his critics have been given something to hang on, a report he wanted to fire Russia election investigator Robert Mueller. Trump called it “fake news,” and in truth it happened a while ago and Trump has since said he’d like to be interviewed by Mueller. Next week’s State of the Union Address is likely to change the talk in Washington to spending on defense, immigration and infrastructure. As usual our graders, Democratic pollster John Zogby and conservative analyst Jed Babbin are divided on the president’s week.
This past week was going to be one of President Trump's best ones yet. He began with a triumph over his Democratic opposition on the government shutdown. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer found himself in trouble with his own base while being outmaneuvered by the GOP. In addition, the president seems to be holding the cards on the next round of negotiations over the fate of the Dreamers. In a very Clintonian move, Trump seems to be out front on the issue.
The president arrived at the World Economic Forum in Davos and received a strong welcome from world leaders — the kinds of photo ops that presidents dream about.
First checks with the impact of new tax cuts are in the mail, and there is plenty of buzz that lots of foreign and repatriated money is on its way for investments for infrastructure renewal.
And there is an impact on the president's polling numbers. My son's Zogby Analytics poll shows the president at 46 percent and the latest three polls in the Real Clear Politics average now have Trump at 44.3 percent.
But then, and there always has to be a 'but then', the New York Times reports that the president tried to fire special prosecutor Robert Mueller last June but his own White House counsel threatened to quit. That would have been clearly an impeachable offense. Good news for the president and the nation is that there are more sober and sane voices with some influence.
President Trump had a very good week politically both at home and abroad. Well, at least until his amnesty plan came out on Thursday.
Trump’s biggest win led off the week with the Democratic cave-in that ended the ‘Schumer shutdown’ of the government.
In a related big win for the president, the Supreme Court, in a highly unusual ruling, said it would decide the constitutionality of Trump’s cancellation of former President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program before an appellate court did. Under Trump’s order the DACA program ends in early March. The court will probably rule before then.
In a very brash challenge to special counsel Robert Mueller the president said he’d meet with him and be interviewed under oath. Though politically wise it’s a very risky move that’s likely to backfire on the president.
Trump had a telephone conversation with Turkish strongman Recip Tayyip Erdogan, telling the Turkish president to avoid conflict with U.S. forces in Syria. Erdogan has mounted a large offensive against Kurdish forces there regardless of the fact that the Kurds are our ally and that U.S. forces operate close to them. Erdogan didn’t back down.
Vice President Pence, visiting Israel, announced that the move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem will be completed by the end of 2019, years before the State Department said it would.
The glitziest item of the week could have been headlined, “Donald Does Davos.” In several meetings and a speech, the president entered the heart of the globalist beast at the World Economic Forum. His reception was mixed. French President Macron stated support for Trump’s move regarding Israel’s capital being recognized as Jerusalem. British PM Theresa May met with Trump, both trying to ease tensions.
As the president entered the Davos conference, his next offer on the DACA mess was announced by the White House. It includes $25 billion in funding for the border wall and ends chain migration and the visa lottery, but it also offers a path to citizenship for about 1.8 million illegals who are eligible for the DACA plan. In 2016, Trump emphatically and repeatedly said there would be no amnesty on his watch. Democrats and liberal Republicans will make it a baseline from which the president will have to make further compromises. As some Republicans are already saying, this could be the death knell for the Republican majority in the House.
John Zogby is the founder of the Zogby Poll and senior partner at John Zogby Strategies. His latest book is We are Many, We are One: Neo-Tribes and Tribal Analytics in 21st Century America. Follow him on Twitter @TheJohnZogby
Jed Babbin is an Examiner contributor and former deputy undersecretary of defense in administration of former President George H.W. Bush. Follow him on Twitter @jedbabbin
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org