Trump Agenda Is Beset by Opposition on Many Fronts
Scope of opposition so early in his term is remarkable for a new president.
President Donald Trump is confronting more opposition than any he faced in his campaign, or anything seen in the first weeks of a modern presidency, with protests, legal challenges, congressional opposition and parts of the federal bureaucracy mobilizing to resist. After issuing a blizzard of executive orders that fueled expectations he would be a dominant force in Washington, Mr. Trump risks seeming more like Gulliver, the giant tied down by an army of resilient, if smaller, adversaries. The anti-Trump resistance has helped block his immigration policy, slow his health-care agenda and cabinet nominees, force out a top adviser and a cabinet choice, and make many of his public appearances occasions for raucous protests. The scope of opposition to Mr. Trump is remarkable for a new president. Others have faced protests and legal disputes, but none of the magnitude and persistence that Mr. Trump has encountered so early in his presidency.
Asked to comment on the numerous forms of opposition to Mr. Trump, a White House official said: “Democrat officials are being whipped into a frenzy by their far left base to oppose this President in unprecedented ways.” The disparate Anti-Trump opposition threatens to tie the president down from multiple directions. The most potentially corrosive resistance may come from within the federal bureaucracy itself. On the domestic front, current and past officials of the Environmental Protection Agency had been publicly urging defeat of Scott Pruitt, Mr. Trump’s nominee to head the agency. The Senate voted to confirm Mr. Pruitt on Friday.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a strong Trump backer, warned that the “bureaucracy is more hostile than any in modern times.” He said the storm surrounding Mr. Flynn is “a warning of how hostile their bureaucratic and media opponents will be.”
Many of the president’s supporters and allies remain optimistic that he will regain his footing and rack up important victories in the future, like confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and passage of tax reform. But to do so, even Mr. Trump’s allies say his White House could use some tighter management by chief of staff Reince Priebus, including a crackdown on leaks. “Priebus needs to set a trap and catch the leakers,” said Scott Reed, senior political adviser to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He said the White Houseneeds to “get discipline back into the operation,” adding, “Trump and the Republican Congress have a unique, one-every-40-year opportunity to make real change.”
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