His party is publicly rebuking him, corporate executives are rushing to distance themselves from his administration to safeguard their own reputations, and rumors of more White House departures are swirling after Chief Strategist Steve Bannon's ouster. But it appears that President Donald Trump can still count on one bedrock of stability: major right-wing donors.
"While corporate America is distancing itself from Trump, wealthy rightwingers are still cozying up."
The New York Times on Friday reported that amid the outrage sparked by his "unhinged" response to the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville last weekend, the president dined with loyal, well-heeled Republican benefactors who seem perfectly willing to weather recent storms, just as long as their agenda remains the administration's top priority.
"The dinner was scheduled weeks ago as part of a donor-outreach initiative by the Trump administration as it prepares an overhaul of the tax code," noted Maggie Haberman and Kenneth Vogel, who broke the story for the Times.
As Common Dreams has reported, if implemented, Trump's tax proposals would overwhelmingly favor the wealthiest—and the president himself—while potentially raising taxes on low-income and middle class Americans.
Haberman and Vogel continued:
The invited donors and their families have combined to donate millions of dollars to committees supporting Mr. Trump's campaign and inauguration, and Mr. Trump's team hopes they will contribute millions more to groups pushing his legislative agenda. They included the New York investor Robert Mercer, the Kentucky coal executive Joseph W. Craft, and the Wisconsin roofing magnate Diane Hendricks, according to people familiar with the dinner.
Many observers have pointed out that while Trump has few legislative victories to speak of, his administration has been extremely successful in rolling back major environmental, civil rights, and workplace regulations.
The Trump White House has also taken aim at crucial rules designed to both protect consumers from predatory corporations and prevent another financial meltdown.
"With the Trump administration's chaos sucking up all the attention, it's been able to move forward on a range of its priorities, which tend to be more focused on regulatory matters anyway," wrote The Atlantic's David Graham earlier this month. "It is remaking the justice system, rewriting environmental rules, overhauling public-lands administration, and greenlighting major infrastructure projects. It is appointing figures who will guarantee the triumph of its ideological vision for decades to come."
For these reasons, progressive groups and commentators have urged Americans to keep their eyes on what Trump is doing "every single day" that will have both short-term and long-term effects.
Trump's dinner with right-wing donors on Thursday was a "reminder of who controls the country," wrote Samuel Oakford of Airwars.
"Swamp doing fine, thank you very much," noted another commentator in response to the Times report.
While corporate America is distancing itself from Trump, wealthy rightwingers are still cozying up. https://t.co/pa4C3plRCy
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) August 18, 2017