Trump’s very normal White House

Despite his “taste for nonstop controversy and rhetorical brinkmanship,” President Trump is actually running a surprisingly cautious administration, said Rich Lowry. Trump’s “constant tweeting and lurid, yet meaningless, controversies” make the White House look as if it’s always on “the verge of careering out of control.” But cut out the noise and you’re left with the kind of “incrementalist center-right government” we’ve come to expect from Republicans. Trump’s threat to slap tariffs on Mexico is a prime example. “It would have been a blow to our own economy and that of an ally.” But it never happened. Instead, Trump secured “meaningful concessions” on border security. Similarly, Trump’s threat to pull out of NAFTA resulted in a modified deal, not a wholesale reworking of U.S. trade policy. In Syria and Afghanistan, the president has mostly stayed the course on strategies that he inherited. And instead of seeking far-reaching changes at home, he has fed the Senate “a steady diet” of conservative judicial nominations while pursuing tax cuts and deregulation to protect America’s economic boom. Trump “can plausibly make a re-election pitch that, despite what you might have gathered, he’s been a steward of a country enjoying markedly good times.”