In 2015, influential conservative Matt Drudge was one of the first opinion-makers to throw his support behind unlikely Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. While much of conservative media was treating Trump like a joke or an annoyance, the Drudge Report was painting the candidate in a positive light with beaming headlines and palpable enthusiasm. Soon, that enthusiasm caught on and other conservative pundits and websites began looking at Trump in a new light.
Now, though, Drudge says that Trump’s presidency has taken a turn for the worse and it’s up to his supporters to guide him back to the path. In a radio interview with Michael Savage last week, Drudge said, “We’re trying to save this young Trump administration.”
Drudge said that some of the blame for the current “crisis” of power in Washington could be laid at Trump’s feet, but he warned that Congress was possibly sabotaging the president.
Obama’s Democrats were able to put a stimulus bill on his desk on the first day of his presidency, Drudge said.
“What did Congress give this great man?” he asked. “Nothing.”
On healthcare, Drudge said, “I think attacking the Freedom Caucus was calculated to get something through the House.” However, he noted that even a victory in the House would not have assured the bill’s passage.
“That still doesn’t mean he can get it through the Senate,” he said. “You’ve got McCain, who is going to block. You’ve got Lindsey Graham, who is going to block. So Donald Trump has been dealt a very bad hand here.”
Drudge said he would like to see Trump display some of the natural charisma that made him a household name.
“The charm. The guy who ran the hotel. The guy who had a number one TV show with ‘The Apprentice,” he said. “Charisma is needed in this job. This isn’t just getting a bill through Congress. This is charisma. So, I wish they would let him return to Donald Trump, the full Donald Trump.”
Drudge makes some good points. Trump is being attacked like no president before him, so it’s easy to understand why he’s in non-stop combative mode. But while that mode may appeal to his fiercest supporters, it isn’t allowing him to fully inhabit the presidency. Trump has a soft, humorous, disarming side. In front of Congress in February, he showed that he’s also capable of “being presidential.” He doesn’t need to drop his fighting spirit, but he does need to scale it back to a point where it’s only one facet of his personality, not the whole thing.