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The Trump Honeymoon Is Already Over

Reassessing the God Emperor

He was, for many, hailed as the God Emperor.

Two months ago, President-Elect Donald Trump had no more fervent group of loyal supporters than the Alt-Right. This was especially true during the worst stretch of the campaign after the Access Hollywood tape was released in October. Trump was condemned and disavowed by 1/4 of elected Republicans and 1/3 of the Republican Congress. He was written off as a sure loser by virtually all conservative pundits.

That was then. We’re still several weeks away from the inauguration, but now the bloom is already off the rose. There has been a shift in our thinking about Trump in the Alt-Right. It stems from two causes:

1.) First, the November 22 disavowal and condemnation of the Alt-Right with The New York Times, which was a major buzzkill. There was nothing new about that particular disavowal. At various points in the campaign, Trump had disavowed David Duke, Jared Taylor, William Johnson, James Edwards and the Ku Klux Klan. There had been a number of disavowals and a host of things (for example, Eric Trump saying David Duke deserved a bullet) that were set aside but not forgotten in the heat of the campaign.

There were many, many things that happened during the campaign which were glossed over for the greater good of victory. There was, for example, Trump’s explicit embrace of the LGBTQ community (he made a point to add the Q) as well as his promise of a “New Deal for Black America.” For a year and a half, it did not escape our notice that Trump talked about The Blacks, The LGBT community, The Hispanics, but never once mentioned The Whites who, as it turned out, were the sole cause of his upset victory on November 8th. This was grudgingly accepted because it was thought at the time that Trump’s victory over the GOP establishment and Conservatism, Inc. would bring about a great change in the political landscape that would be “good for the Whites.”

Instead, Trump’s disavowal has led to two months of fighting on Twitter with the Alt-Lite. It turns out the GOP establishment wasn’t overthrown on November 8th. Paul Ryan is good now. Mitch McConnell is good now. It is the Alt-Right that is disavowed. The Alt-Lite brands want to ditch the racism, anti-Semitism and homophobia of the Alt-Right. Mainstream conservatism is the hot and edgy new movement.

2.) Second, as if Trump wanted to put an exclamation point on our dissatisfaction with the fact that nothing has really changed since November 8th, there has been the transition. I was very happy with the choice of Mike Pence as Vice President. At the time, I liked that choice because I thought it added balance.

But now? It seems like Mike Pence as Vice President begat Reince Preibus as Chief of Staff. All these people who supported Trump during the campaign, not just the Alt-Right, but even conservative retreads like Rudy Giuliani, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Chris Christie, who we honestly don’t even like but who at least had loyalty going for them, who Pence was supposed to be balancing were passed over for Cabinet positions.

The “best people” that Trump talked about in the campaign were Pence and Reince … and top Republican donors like Todd Ricketts (Commerce Deputy) and Betsy DeVos (Education), General Mattis (Defense) and General Kelly (DHS), Goldman Sachs Jews like Steve Mnuchin (Treasury) and Gary Cohn (National Economic Council), Mitch McConnell’s wife Elaine Chao (Transportation), Nikki Haley (UN), Rick Perry (Energy) who called Trump a “cancer on conservatism,” Cheap Labor Express darling Andy Puzder (Labor), a slew of #TruCons like Scott Pruitt (EPA), Mick Mulvaney (OMB), Tom Price (HHS), and Reince’s buttboy Sean Spicer who will be White House Press Secretary. Hell, I tried to say that Ryan Zinke (Interior) was a saving grace of the Cabinet, but even he put out a press release condemning Richard Spencer and “hate groups” in Whitefish, Montana.

This was supposed to be a great victory for populist nationalism. We were very excited about Jeff Sessions (Attorney General) and Steve Bannon (Chief Strategist), but at some point early in the process it became crystal clear that Reince and Pence had taken over the transition. Peter Navarro for National Trade Council was the only name after Sessions that stood out from a pack of generals, billionaires, #TruCons and Republican establishment cronies. Rex Tillerson, Trump’s choice for Secretary of State, embodies the overwhelming impression that one gets that this is going to be a pro-business, conservative administration. Now, with the Cabinet more or less complete and just when we were expecting no more drama, there are reports that there is a scramble among the transition team to fill one of the last spots, Secretary of Agriculture, with an unqualified Hispanic.

This series of Bill Mitchell and Cernovich tweets illustrates how the Alt-Lite has become the new DemsRRealRacists. Combine that with the spectacle of Rick Perry and Nikki Haley in the Cabinet, Goldman Sachs in top economic positions in the Cabinet, Todd Ricketts, whose family financed the #NeverTrump Our Principles PAC, in the Cabinet, Andy Puzder in the Labor Department and the likes of John Podhoretz, Jennifer Rubin and Bill Kristol boarding the Trump Train over Israel.

Speaking of Israel, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz famously tag teamed Trump over Israel in one of the Republican debates over his position of neutrality and wanting to negotiate a settlement that would result in a two-state solution:

But that was then. Even before he has been sworn into office, Trump has adopted the Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz position of unqualified support for Bibi Netanyahu. It is a position that makes George W. Bush’s position look moderate by comparison and which Cruz and Rubio would have likely moderated in the general election.

In Congress, there are already storm clouds on the horizon: Paul Ryan’s statement yesterday which sabotaged Trump’s position on Russia, Graham and McCain wanting new sanctions on Russia, and rumblings that the GOP Congress is already preparing to cuck on financing the Trump Wall.

3.) Third, I said there were two causes, but the third cause is already on the horizon. The third stage of disillusionment could possibly be the first hundred days. After assembling this Cabinet, what is Trump going to do with his newfound power? What’s at the top of the legislative agenda? Is it going to be trade, immigration and foreign policy or is it going to be all these other things?

All signs point to the Paul Ryan-Mitch McConnell GOP Congress moving immediately on their agenda of tax cuts, Wall Street deregulation and repealing Obamacare. In other words, things conservatives want to do, which conservatives would have done no matter who won the presidency, and which could very well (remember the first two years of Obama’s administration?) end up consuming the first year of Trump’s presidency with big polarizing fights over issues like healthcare, large tax cuts and Wall Street. This brings back memories of the W. years when passing the Bush tax cuts were at the top of the Republican policy agenda. Then it was off to war and the rest is history.

It is an understatement to say that OD is going to be watching the first hundred days like a hawk. If Trump does a lot of things we like on trade, immigration and foreign policy, we will feel much better than we do now and will cover him positively. If he doesn’t and moves instead on all these things Reince and Paul Ryan want to do, it is fair to say that we will become more anxious and disillusioned. Trump should have a lot of power over immigration, trade and foreign policy so what he does on these key issues in the first hundred days right out of the gate will tell us a lot about his presidency.

We should know fairly soon how much the status quo has really changed. If it appears that Conservatism, Inc. is humming along as usual and has been empowered to enact its 1980s agenda and that the people voted for radical change only to get business as usual, it is not going to go over well. Those who say White Nationalists were not part of Trump’s coalition are mistaken. This community voted for Trump in extraordinary numbers with unprecedented enthusiasm. The #TruCons might not like to hear that, but it is a fact. The Alt-Right and White Nationalists solidly supported Trump. As everyone remembers, it was the #TruCons who didn’t vote for Trump and and who opposed him to the end through both the primaries and the general election.

The general attitude right now toward God Emperor Trump is an anxious wait and see approach. We’re going to wait and see what he does in the first hundred days. Still, it is remarkable that in the span of two months how far we have already moved away from the unqualified reverence of the campaign. There have been two steps back which I have outlined here. Is there going to be a third step back by Spring 2017?