Trump Is an Army of One

Presidents typically have the backing and support of their political party. Although all presidents have the bully pulpit to broadcast their messages, the presidency is a busy job, and the president must delegate messaging and branding to surrogates, including elected officials in the president's party.

Barack Obama had legions of apologists and defenders.  Every congressional Democrat and scores of leftovers from the Clinton administration were ready, willing, and able to defend all things Obama, as well as viciously pounce on any of his detractors.  The Obamacare and Benghazi scandals were vociferously shielded from any criticism.

Bill Clinton enjoyed the same support from Team Democrat, particularly when navigating his scandal-filled two terms in office and impeachment.  His supporters attacked independent counsel Kenneth Starr incessantly, impugning his character and calling him a pervert.

In addition, all Democrat presidents have the unwaveringly loyal support of the media, print and digital.  News coverage of past Democrat presidents has mostly been favorable, overlooking negative stories and supplying an abundance of humanizing puff pieces.  Democrat presidential candidates are routinely endorsed by most major newspapers in America.

Then along came Donald Trump, previously a member of each political party at different times in his life when such party affiliations served his interests.  The truth is that he was never a Democrat or a Republican, at least as they are defined today.  Instead, he is a problem-solver, beholden to no one and not part of the political establishment. His loyalty is only to America and those who voted for him, not to the donor classes and globalist elites.

Seeking the presidency, he understood the folly of running as a third-party candidate, at least officially, although in reality, he was very much a third-party candidate, joining the GOP as the lesser of two evils.  He was not part of either party's ruling cabal, having never held elective office or political appointment.  He did not campaign or arrive at the White House with an entourage of advisers and staff from previous stints as a governor or senator.  Trump was an army of one.

Official White House photo by Joyce N. Boghosian.

His past confidants from the Trump Tower days were his family and assorted lawyers and other fixer types, used as necessary when swimming through the shark-infested waters of New York City real estate development.  President Trump entered the White House thin on trusted political aides and advisers.  Few are still in his administration, while most are long gone, some quietly and at least outwardly supportive of Trump, while others departed noisily, making trouble for Trump in exchange for book deals or appearances on CNN.  Very few were solidly part of Trump's army.

Now, in the second half of his first term in office, he remains the king of a nonexistent political party, at least in Washington, D.C. His actual party is "yuuuge," with a political base that elected and likely will re-elect him in 2020.  Trump hovers around 50 percent in the polls with 90-plus-percent support among Republicans.

Those few Republicans, like John Kasich, making noise about a primary challenge, are Chihuahuas nipping at the hooves of a massive Budweiser Clydesdale.  The "son of a mailman" had his lunch handed to him by candidate Trump.  Facing President Trump in 2020, he will be irrelevant.

Yet Trump is largely alone.  Where are Republican members of Congress?  Where are the pundits?  Defenders are as scarce as moderate Democrats.  Nancy Pelosi is on television more in one week than Paul Ryan was in two.

Trump's army is small, with only a few congressional allies such as Mark Meadows and Lindsey Graham.  Just a handful of media figures support President Trump while the rest call him a Nazi, a racist, a terrorist, or just a dolt.  The remainder of the Republican Party is waiting patiently to stick a knife into Trump's back when the situation allows.

Republicans controlled the House and Senate for two years.  Other than a corporate tax cut, what did they accomplish?  Obamacare wasn't repealed, despite endless promises to do so ahead of each election.  The wall, Trump's signature issue, wasn't built.  Planned Parenthood remained funded, as did sanctuary cities.  Two Supreme Court nominees were confirmed, although the Kavanaugh process was a travesty, aided and abetted by a handful of squishy Republican senators.

Even the president's emergency declaration for wall funding is likely to be rejected due to several Republicans voting against their party leader and one of the primary issues for their constituents.  How many Democrats defected in the Obamacare vote, a key issue for their party leader?  None.

Despite being an army of one, Trump is more than willing to fight back with all his might.  In his famous speech from October 13, 2016, he said, "But I take all of these slings and arrows for you.  I take them for our movement, so that we can have our country back."

Where is his army?

Fortunately, Trump is a fighter.  No other Republican could withstand the daily blistering barrage from the media and both political parties ganging up on him to destroy his presidency.  Imagine how much more he could have accomplished in his first two years with solid support from the GOP, advancing his agenda and pushing back against spy-gate tricksters?

On the plus side, he holds the keys to declassification and the pain that will bring to many, including potential indictments for conspiracy and treason.  Huber and Horowitz are beginning to emerge from the shadows, bringing unpleasant surprises to many conspirators.  As Trump told the N.Y. Post last fall, "I'm a counter-puncher and I will hit them so hard they'd never been hit like that."

On the negative side, there could be 17 or so Republican senators willing to join with their colleagues across the aisle to vote for conviction on any of the inevitable impeachment charges passed by the hyper-partisan House.  Murkowski, Collins, Romney, and others would be happy to see Trump removed from office, and after some theatrical handwringing and might vote to convict on any bogus articles of impeachment.

Such defections were not a concern for Bill Clinton 20 years ago, but he was not a party of one; rather, he was Attila leading the Huns to battle.  Trump has a fine line to straddle, bringing pain to the Deep State but keeping Republican senators, many of whom identify with the Deep State, from tossing him to the wolves.  Trump is interfering with the globalist elite agenda, and both parties would rather see him back in Trump Tower, away from the levers of power.  After all, he was never supposed to win.

For his voters, the frustration mounts.  We have but one vote to give to the president and only our voices on social media as his army.  Our elected representatives serve not their voters, but instead their donors, as evidenced by the immigration standoff.  His army of 60 million–plus is strong but with limited effect.  Unfortunately, his political army in Washington, D.C. is largely against him.

Yet he persists and perseveres, as an army of one.  Despite being woefully outnumbered, he is the odds-on favorite to prevail.

Brian C Joondeph, M.D., MPS is a Denver-based physician and writer.  Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.