Reihan Salam, the executive editor of National Review, went on Face the Nation to discuss the big issues of the week. He commented on President Trump’s reaction to the violence in Charlottesville, Steve Bannon’s departure from the White House, and the president’s political outlook.
On the diverging reactions to President Trump’s equivocations about Charlottesville, Reihan made an interesting point:
People have very deep suspicions about Donald Trump for a good reason, but if he is going to counter those suspicions, he has to take very strong and clear actions to convey that, ‘No, I am actually sincere when I say that I’m on the side of those who are protesting against white nationalists, neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan, and all the rest.
So, the problem is that he does enough to make people inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt, the opportunity to say, ‘Hey, he’s actually trying to be reasonable here, people are not being fair to him.’ And I think that’s the tension, that’s why you see this divide between the two constituencies.
Reihan also argued that President Trump and the Republican party may be in a better political situation going forward than most people realize. He explained:
The question is, do people pay attention to policy debates in so granular a fashion, or do they pay attention to headline numbers—what’s happening to job growth, or even just unemployment and wage gains, and what have you. We can separate the question of whether or not [Trump] deserves the credit for it. He’s barely been in office. But that is a very powerful factor.