House Republicans were taken aback on Tuesday when Donald Trump’s top economic advisor told them that the GOP was the president-elect’s party now…and that they’d better get used to it. In a closed-door meeting with lawmakers, economist Stephen Moore said it was time for Republicans to acknowledge the truth of the election.
“Just as Reagan converted the GOP into a conservative party, Trump has converted the GOP into a populist working-class party,” Moore said in an interview. “In some ways this will be good for conservatives and in other ways possibly frustrating.”
Moore reportedly told House Republicans that they should no longer consider themselves conservatives in the mold of former President Ronald Reagan. They were now soldiers in Trump’s army.
Moore himself, who runs the economically-conservative Club for Growth, acknowledged that he was not personally a fan of everything Trump was planning. On infrastructure, for instance, he admitted that he thought it was a terrible way to spend federal money.
“I don’t want to spend all that money on infrastructure,” Moore said. “I think it’s mostly a waste of money. But if the voters want it, they should get it.”
Moore characterized his comments to Congress as a “dose of reality” that Republicans needed to swallow.
“Elections have consequences,” Moore said, “and I do think Donald Trump has a mandate.”
This will be one of the most interesting things to watch in the early months of Trump’s presidency, because you can see it from a couple of different angles. Yes, Trump won the White House despite widespread Republican opposition and he can make an argument that it proves that voters want his economic agenda, not Paul Ryan’s. On the other hand, how many conservative Trump voters really love everything he said in the campaign? How many voted for him simply because he wasn’t Hillary Clinton?
By all accounts, congressional Republicans seem to expect a smooth working relationship with Trump. They seem excited about pushing a conservative economic policy package. So we’ll see how it plays out.