It’s way too soon to compare President Donald J. Trump to President Ronald Reagan, but one thing is clear so far in Trump’s short tenure: He’s more Reagan-like than any president since The Gipper.
Aside from his Cabinet picks – which have been adjudged the most conservative in decades – and his conservative-leaning agenda, Trump has a quality that Reagan had and President Obama did not: A personality that lends itself to deal-making and working through problems with colleagues from both sides of the aisle.
Obama was never known to be very sociable, especially with members of Congress – even members of his own Democratic Party. But as Bloomberg News points out, Trump has launched what can only be described as a “charm offensive” on Congress, in an attempt to get key agenda items passed in a very divisive political atmosphere:
Less than two months on the job, President Donald Trump is showing that when it comes to wooing members of Congress, he’s no Barack Obama.
Where Obama was usually reserved and met sparingly with lawmakers, Trump has launched a full-out charm offensive, much of it aimed at bolstering the beleaguered Republican Obamacare plan.
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla, told the news site that Trump is talking about how to unify around key legislative proposals, and not just Republicans – who are already divided over a House Obamacare bill that many conservatives say is little more than Obamacare 2.0 (Trump backs it, by the way, but is open to compromise).
“He even said at one point, ‘Maybe we should meet once a week. Maybe we should meet every four days!’” Cole said of the president, who hosted GOP lawmakers at the White House this week. (RELATED: Trump’s First Full Month In Office Brings Massive Employment Boom: Over 295,000 New Jobs In February.)
Affable and funny, members described Trump as very engaged and energetic – on top of the issues and ready to move forward.
In short, it’s very different from the way Obama worked Congress – which is to say, he didn’t. In fact, especially after Republicans won back control of the House – then the Senate – Obama was far less enthused about working diplomatically with the Legislative Branch to get the nation’s business done.
Remember Obama’s now-infamous “pen and phone” pledge, in which he vowed to essentially rule by executive decree? That was a direct assault against Congress, in which a sitting president vowed to do all he could to circumvent the normal legislative process. No wonder the GOP was so uninterested in working with him.
Trump obviously is taking a different tact – a more Reaganesque tact.
As noted by The Hill, when Reagan won his first presidential election in 1980, he inherited a divided Congress; Republicans held the Senate but Democrats held the House. The House was led by Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill, D-Mass., who realized that Reagan’s landslide victory and gains in both chambers by Republicans meant the country had voted for change, and that Reagan ought to be given a chance to present his agenda.
Rather than retreat from Congress and bully his way through like Obama, Reagan worked with both parties to achieve legislative victories that led to the greatest economic expansion in the shortest amount of time in U.S. history. In addition, Reagan set the stage for eventual Cold War victory over the Soviet Union and created millions of new opportunities for Americans – with bipartisan support.
For his part, Trump is not only meeting with GOP leaders – including some who have been vocal critics, like Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. – he is also reaching out to Democrats. One of them is Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, who has been a strong critic. But the two of them discussed something of mutual interest to all Americans – the rising prices of prescription drugs and how to get them reduced. (RELATED: Finally: GOP Sees A REAL Chance Under Trump To Cut The Size Of The Federal Bureaucracy.)
In January when Trump spoke on the phone with Cummings, the latter came away from the conversation saying the two “had more in common than differences.”
With Graham, no pledges were made on any particular agenda, but the senator said he could tell the president wants to make deals on key agenda items.
“He’s conservative but he’s not ideological. Most of these deals around here fall apart because of ideological objections. There’s actually a chance for President Trump to do things you could never get another Republican to do,” Graham said, as reported by Bloomberg News.
“He’s very charming.”
J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for Natural News and News Target, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.