With more than a year to mull their decision, the New York Times thought it would be a good idea to ask conservatives if they’re still glad that they voted for President Donald Trump.
It didn’t turn out exactly how the newspaper may have expected.
Despite an article that took the pains to detail all of Trump’s negatives over the past year, those attending this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference focused instead on the positives: A $1.5 trillion tax cut; sweeping deregulation; increased military spending; and conservative judges.
Ben Domenech, the publisher of The Federalist, told The Times that conservatives have been pleasantly surprised by Trump’s policies, if not by him.
“Everybody knows that list,” he said. “They feel very confident he’s going to be a bully for them on judicial nominations, tax cuts, military spending and all these other things — and I think that has eliminated the Ted Cruz-based objections to Trump.”
As for Sen. Cruz, a speaker at this year’s CPAC, the Texas Republican spoke glowingly of the man he challenged in a bitter primary in 2016.
“If you set aside the noise and the political circus of Washington and if you focus instead on the substance, I am deeply gratified with what this Republican president, Republican administration and Republican majority have been able to accomplish,” Cruz said.
Ken Cuccinelli, a Virginia Republican and longtime movement conservative, said the president’s being judged in a “very outcome-based” manner, which explains why the tabloid gossip and dirt being dug up by the media isn’t hurting Trump on the right.
“There are things that he’s doing that, as a conservative, I’m wildly happy about,” Cuccinelli said.
The Times pointed out that the “Teflon armor Mr. Trump has built up with many conservatives, especially religious and social conservatives, has become one of the most predictable aspects of his presidency.”
In the end, the paper was relegated to commenting on a “flatter” mood and “thinner” crowd size to suggest there’s still some discontent on the right toward Trump.
The irony being that Mitt Romney was used as a measuring stick of the conservative sentiment.
“Romney used to own this place,” conservative David Bozell was quoted by The Times. “Now Romney is running for Senate in Utah and he doesn’t even show up. What does that tell you?”
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