If you were were watching the news last week, the impeachment talk was attenuated a bit, but it was still the most prominent political story in the news.
At least for Democrats, it’s pretty much the only story in town, too. Two articles of impeachment went through the House Judiciary Committee last week. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the New York Democrat who helms the committee, called it “a solemn and sad day.” He was able to keep a straight face while saying that.
Meanwhile, it wasn’t a solemn or sad week for the White House. In fact, as the Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard pointed out, it may have been one of the Trump administration’s best weeks.
“It was one of his best weeks yet,” a White House adviser told Bedard.
So, why was it so good?
Well, for starters, there was the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the deal that would replace NAFTA. The president reached an agreement on that with Democrats, which meant it was almost certainly going to pass congressional muster.
In a similar vein, there was a tentative trade deal with China.
…..The Penalty Tariffs set for December 15th will not be charged because of the fact that we made the deal. We will begin negotiations on the Phase Two Deal immediately, rather than waiting until after the 2020 Election. This is an amazing deal for all. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2019
Both of these sent the stock market soaring to a new high.
There was also a new budget. This included $1.3 billion for the border wall. It also means no government shutdown.
Government family leave policy? Another win.
Also, perhaps Trump’s biggest win has been how he’s remade the appeals courts. This week, he received approval for his 50th appeals court judge. No other president in modern times has had more; to put this in perspective, Barack Obama had 24 at this time.
Then there was Trump’s signature on an executive order designed to fight anti-Semitism and lend more support to Israel.
As for impeachment, there were victories on that end, too. As Bedard noted, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi slipped up and admitted, “It’s been going on 22 months — two and a half years, actually.”
The specter of impeachment also caused a Democrat in the House to potentially jump ship and join the Republicans. (This, in fairness, broke on Sunday, so it wasn’t quite part of the week — but still, good times.) Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul also predicted at least two Democrats would join the Republicans in voting against convicting Trump in the Senate trial.
“There is one world where the mainstream media is covering impeachment, but there is another world where Trump is racking up a myriad of accomplishments, many of which have the support of the same Democrats who want to remove him from office,” political communications strategist Ron Bonjean said, according to Bedard.
“Perhaps, for now, what he accomplished this week will be overshadowed by the impeachment, but by next summer, the impeachment may be seen as mean-spirited and partisan, and the string of victories will add to his incredible list of victories going into reelection season,” Trump biographer Doug Wead said.
“During impeachment, any other president would retreat into the bunker and be consumed with defense. Endlessly gaming various scenarios,” Wead said. “Instead, Trump, the businessman, is looking for a way to use it to his advantage. …
“He is the master magician, waving one hand to distract, while with the other hand, he makes the trick work. In this case, the Democrats provided this unwanted distraction, but he clearly seized on the moment.”
Trump pollster John McLaughlin, meanwhile, thought it was specifically because of the threat of impeachment — especially given how vulnerable many of the newly minted Democrats are.
“Democrats in states and districts the president won are at serious risk if they vote for impeachment,” McLaughlin said. “So they are rushing to vote for the president’s popular positions.
“If Pelosi and [Sen. Chuck] Schumer keep pressing impeachment, it’s likely the president will get his entire agenda passed and reelected in a landslide.”
But that’s the thing: They can’t back away from impeachment now.
That should scare a lot of Democrats, particularly because a Senate trial will likely be over quickly and end up being a faceplant for the left. Much like the Jelly of the Month Club, it’s the gift that keeps on giving the whole year ’round.
There’s no way this can’t be seen as a win for the Trump administration.
The longer impeachment goes on, the less America seems to care and the more wedded Democrats are to it.
Meanwhile, the Trump administration has proved it can walk and chew gum at the same time; it’s been able to handle the Ukraine fallout and still work on its legislative agenda.
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