It’s no secret that one of the most substantial hurdles for President Donald Trump was to unite the Republican party. There have been many challenges along the way ranging from issues regarding Russia to the failed AHCA bill that divided House Republicans, however, many of Trump’s fiercest critics are finding an unlikely raison d’etre for unification… foreign policy.
Today, Politico reported that the person who released Lindsey Graham’s phone number and chastised him for low poll numbers is now the subject of Graham’s praise. I am, of course, talking about Donald Trump. Trump’s recent military action in Syria and tough talk on North Korea prompted Graham to say that he is “all in” on the president’s foreign policy. In an interview with Fox & Friends, Graham gleefully stated that he is “like the happiest dude in America right now.” This sudden change of heart from one of Trump’s most consistent critics in the GOP compels us to ask; what can President Trump do to get more of his detractors on the Trump Train™? It seems like his most successful unifier is, you guessed it, foreign policy.
President Trump was originally castigated for his lack of political experience, leading many on both sides of the aisle to express concerns about his ability to conduct foreign policy. In August of 2016, a group of Republican national security experts went so far as to claim that Trump’s foreign policy was a national security risk. Although, since foreign policy is an important issue to Republicans and the electorate at large, it could prove to be the most important issue of Trump’s presidency, with US voters ranking “Terrorism” and “Foreign Policy” 2nd and 3rd as the most important issues facing the nation.
Consequentially, Trump has been able to substantially boost his credibility with establishment Republicans, and more importantly, in the eyes of many, draw a sharp contrast with his predecessors inaction in the face of injustice. Accordingly, Graham further stated, “This administration has done more to correct the world in 80 days than President Obama did in 8 years.” While the president will have a tough time selling his protectionist trade policies and stimulus spending to his Republican colleagues in congress, getting them aboard his train is a good start.