The love affair binding Trump to right-wing media and the conservative commentariat entered its roughest patch yet over the weekend, following friendly fire over his capitulation to Democratic demands that he reopen the government without $5.7 billion for his shape-shifting border barrier.
In a Wall Street Journal interview published on Sunday, Trump hit back at Ann Coulter, the conservative author whose threats about the defection of the president’s base were credited with pushing him to his once-uncompromising stance. When he backed down Friday, she called him a “wimp.”
“I hear she’s become very hostile,” Trump told the Journal. “Maybe I didn’t return her phone call or something.”
Also on Sunday, he attacked two top reporters for Fox News, his news channel of choice, saying they had displayed “even less understanding of the Wall negotiations than the folks at FAKE NEWS CNN & NBC!”
Others had remained by his side through the fallout. “Anyone out there thinking President Trump caved today, you don’t know the Donald Trump I know,” Fox News host Sean Hannity told his viewers on Friday night.
But in refusing to make excuses for the president, Coulter has cast herself as the truest prophet of his agenda. She has used her following with his base – rooted in her early support for his candidacy, as well as her defense of the causes that help power his rise – to try to hold him to his campaign promises.
“There’s nothing Trump can do that won’t be forgiven,” she wrote in her 2016 book “In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome!” She added, “Except change his immigration policies.”
(c) 2019, The Washington Post · Isaac Stanley-Becker ·