The tweet by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) read like a primal scream. “Trump base is blown up, destroyed, irreparable, and disillusioned beyond repair,” he bellowed. “No promise is credible.”
King wasn’t alone in his horror that President Trump appears on the verge of doing a deal with his old friends, Chuck and Nancy — Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — that would write into law protections he had once vowed to undo, for the young “dreamers” covered by the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Poor Ann Coulter, seemingly whipsawed on a weekly basis by Trump’s political gyrations, exhibited her trademark reticence, declaring the president “dead,” advocating Trump’s impeachment and musing about the glorious ascension of President Pence. And just a few days after Stephen K. Bannon’s “60 Minutes” loyalty oath to Trump, Breitbart savaged the president in a headline borrowed from my 2016 parody song, “Amnesty Don.” For good measure, Bannon’s website mockingly referred to the president as “Drumpf.”
But Hannity, Bannon and King are about to learn the same lesson that Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton, Jeff Zucker, Mika Brzezinski and I discovered in 2016: With Trump, it is never over. His base will stick with him no matter what — no matter how loudly and how often the other self-styled leaders of that base take to Twitter or talk radio or any other platform to bleat that Trump has betrayed them.
Coulter’s and Hannity’s abandonment of Team Trump — if it really comes to that — won’t impact the trajectory of this presidency. If Trump’s political career is ever brought to an abrupt end, it won’t be because a few right-wing carnival barkers found themselves unable to pressure the president into adopting a policy position — expulsion of the dreamers — that is supported by only 12 percent of Americans.
Trump’s superglue hold over his supporters has flummoxed conservative and liberal commentators alike since he first rode down his golden escalator at Trump Tower in 2015. Others declared his political career “over!” after he insulted, variously, Mexicans, John McCain, Megyn Kelly, Fox News, body-shamed women, Access Hollywood viewers and a host of others on his trail to the presidency. But many voters sided with the bellicose celebrity they have known since the 1980s. It’s the personality that keeps them, not the policies.
And that Trump base is not going anywhere now. They are not Coulter’s book-buying base, they are not King’s Republican voting base and they will never be Bannon’s populist base. Trump’s base is Trump’s base, period, and there is nothing that Hannity, Breitbart or King will ever be able to do to change that fact. Trump fans stick with Trump through thick and thin. If you don’t believe me, just ask President Clinton.