Reading the Tea Leaves on Trump
For several days, Donald Trump threatened to close the U.S./Mexico border (whatever that means) due to the immigration crisis. While many Trump fans cheered on his latest tough stance (Trump is, in the end, nothing but “stances,” in case you haven’t noticed), and the mainstream media ran with the “Trump is a scary ruffian” angle, I knew he wouldn’t do it.
How did I know? Because Ted Cruz came out against the idea of closing the border the other day. This told me all I needed to know, since Ted Cruz has not opposed anything Trump has done since he, Cruz, officially put his career ambitions, his reputation, and the shattered pile of scraps that used to be his pride, in Trump’s hands after the 2016 election. Therefore, the moment I saw the headline announcing Cruz’s opposition to the idea of “closing the border,” I knew that the option was already off the table, since Cruz would only pretend to be slightly separating himself from Trump if he felt completely secure that such separation was purely a matter of political posturing, and would not really upset his master in the least. For me, then, today’s announcement that Trump has “backed off” on his threat produces only the sad satisfaction of confirming my judgment that there is no surer test of the likelihood of Trump’s real position on anything than Ted Cruz’s position on the issue.
Second tea leaf: Mitch McConnell opposed the idea. On domestic policy, which is all McConnell cares about, Trump is, and always has been, McConnell’s lapdog, as I have been explaining to anyone who would listen since before a single vote was cast in the 2016 Republican primaries. Hence my nickname for Trump, the Orange McConnell.
So, to sort this out for those still slightly confused about Trump’s relationship with the “deep state,” Trump does whatever McConnell wishes, and Cruz is a cheerleader for everything Trump does. Ergo, interestingly, this makes Cruz a cheerleader for everything McConnell wishes.
If anyone can remember as far back as January 2016, that was when Trump began his official attack campaign to destroy his chief rival by claiming that “nobody likes Cruz,” zeroing in on Cruz’s having called McConnell a liar on the Senate floor. You can’t go around criticizing your leader that way, Trump chastised. Apparently, Cruz took that message to heart, for he has become the most loyal court flatterer for both McConnell and Trump (insofar as the two are distinguishable in practice).