What does it mean to be a Washington Republican under Trump?

Nov 26, 2016, 12:00 PM | Updated: 8:28 pm

bannon, Washington Republican...

Steve Bannon is among the question marks for moderate Washington Republicans trying to figure out where they stand. (AP)


It’s a confusing time to be a Washington Republican these days.

On one hand, Conservatives control the House of Representatives, Senate and White House. On the other hand, it’s Donald Trump leading the charge – a man repudiated by many on the Right for his controversial comments and unpredictability on the campaign trail. It could leave a Washington Republican feeling a little uncomfortable.

Washington politicians oppose Trump AG appointee Jeff Sessions

Chris Vance, a “Never Trump” GOP Moderate who lost in his attempt to unseat long-time incumbent Patty Murray in the Senate, recently wrote an article for Crosscut titled “Trumpism could leave moderate Republicans ‘politically homeless.’” In it, Vance describes how Trump represents the antithesis of everything he stands for as a Reagan Republican and says he and other moderates will find themselves partyless if Trump follows through on his promises.

Our tent is big, but no party can support two opposite sets of policies at the same time. We can’t embrace protectionism, nativism, isolationism and big-spending, debt-raising populism and remain the party we have been since Reagan. Trumpism and Reaganism are irreconcilable.

… If the Republican Party is now the party of Donald Trump populism, and the Democratic Party becomes the party of Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Pramila Jayapal, a yawning gap will open in the center of American politics. Who will speak for the business community, moderates, and those who support traditional national defense and free market policies?

Washington Republican under Trump

Meanwhile, another major Trump critic and Washington Republican is KTTH’s syndicated Conservative radio host Michael Medved. He has shifted his tone since the campaign ended. Medved said that most everything Trump has done thus far — aside from the “stupidity of his Tweeting against the cast of Hamilton” – has indicated that he is likely to govern as a mainstream Republican. That includes his speculative appointments of Nikki Haley as UN Ambassador, Mitt Romney as Secretary of State, “Mad Dog” James Mattis as Secretary of Defense and Steven Mnuchin as Treasury secretary.

“I think this is shaping up as … a Conservative dream team,” Medved told KIRO Radio’s Ron and Don on Tuesday. “That does not include the alt-Right. These are crazy, awful, racist, Neo-Nazi, Holocaust-denying losers.”

One of the primary faces of the alt-Right movement has been Breitbart News CEO Steve Bannon, who Trump has tapped as his chief White House strategist.

Another KTTH voice and Washington Republican Todd Herman has heard mixed reviews of the Breitbart head, noting that Bannon’s reputation is that he is not afraid to crush people that get in his way.

Medved says Trump’s threading of the needle with Bannon is tricky. Breitbart has promoted alt-Right ideals that include White Nationalism. However, Medved says a look at Bannon’s actual record indicates he’s not scary as it might seem. Medved, who is Jewish, noted that Breitbart’s editor-at-large and the writers of stories most often associated with being Anti-Semitic are Jewish.

“I don’t like Breitbart. I’m not a fan of Breitbart. And Breitbart’s not a fan of mine,” Medved said. “But it’s wrong to say Breitbart is an Alt-right publication. It would be very tough for a publication where Jewish people, for instance, are featured so prominently.”

“I don’t really think it’s fair to taint Steven Bannon with the Alt-Right label or the imputation of Anti-Semitism,” he said. “It’s good to question him on it and challenge him on it but I don’t think it’s right to say that he’s there with Richard Spencer and these other Neo-Nazis.”

Michael Medved on AM 770 KTTH
  • listen to michael medvedTune in to AM 770 KTTH weekdays at 12pm for The Michael Medved Show.

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What does it mean to be a Washington Republican under Trump?