David French: ‘Trumpism Is the Personal Ambition of Donald Trump’


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JOHN DICKERSON: David, give me a sense of two things. One what Ruth says and what happened to the fiscal hawks. But then secondly you mentioned Steve Bannon and the people he supports and the kind of core of the Trump message.

DAVID FRENCH: Right.

JOHN DICKERSON: How does this tax bill line up with them that corporations are going to go down to twenty percent? Do they care or do they buy the argument from Trump—

DAVID FRENCH: Okay, I’m in the camp that believes that this Trump populism thing is not really a meaningful ideological movement in the— in the Republican Party. Trumpism is the personal ambition of Donald Trump. That’s Trumpism. Okay. This populism has always been a— a relatively small slice of the GOP pie. We’re not looking at a big political sea change here. And the— the people who make up Trump’s base are very— are far more concerned with the perception that Donald Trump is exceeding than they are with any given line item of the quote, unquote, Trump agenda. So I think that the bottom line analysis here is, does Trump help get tax reform passed. If the answer is, yes, mega. If the answer is, no. Then, well, you know, it’s Mitch and Paul Ryan, it’s not Donald Trump that will ultimately receive the— the blame in Trump world. But I think that we’ve gotten down to sort of a post-ideological age in some ways when it comes to the success of Donald Trump where the most important thing is perceived by his fans as the success of Donald Trump.

JOHN DICKERSON: (INDISTINCT) standing of course for Make America Great Again for anyone who doesn’t know that Susan Page, sixteen percent in a Quinnipiac Poll thought they were going to get a tax cut here. What David says about the Trump voter rings true from the Trump voters I’ve talked to. What about the rest of the country?

SUSAN PAGE: Well, I— I think this tax bill is a tough sell for the rest of the country. And especially because some of the arguments that proponents are making are so easily disproved. You know, for instance, the idea that repealing the estate tax is going to help farms and small businesses. This year, eighty farms and small businesses are affected by the estate tax. It’s an— you know, the estate tax benefits the wealthiest Americans, only five thousand or so whom get caught in the estate tax. So I think that the idea that the— the reality of the tax cut helps the rich at the expense— raising taxes over the long-term for even families below thirty thousand is something that makes big difficulties for Republicans.

JOHN DICKERSON: All right. We’re going to go. We’ll be back in a moment.

(ANNOUNCEMENTS)

JOHN DICKERSON: That’s it for us today. Until next week for FACE THE NATION, I’m John Dickerson.transcript

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