US President Donald Trump is banking on his loyal base of supporters to help him through the tangle of the Russia turmoil.
Trump had his core backers in mind as he responded to former FBI Director James Comey’s blockbuster Senate testimony and the steady creep of multiple congressional investigations and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, the Associated Press reports.
Trump’s Republican allies might have found Comey credible, but the president called the man he fired as FBI director a liar and a “leaker.” Trump said he was the victim of the “fake news” media. And he tried to charge ahead by resorting to what worked for him as a candidate — pushing policies dear to his base and using strong rhetoric to convey that message.
Trump has yet to hold a rally in a state he lost in November. He visits many of the small Rust Belt cities and rural heartland communities that went for him.
While backing from some campaign promises, Trump has kept up on policies his loyalists track closely.
When Trump pulled the US from the Paris climate accords despite pleas allies, he framed it as a victory for American industry and the blue-collar workers who backed him. He appointed a conservative to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, and is nominating similar candidates to judicial vacancies.
With help from the Republican-led Congress, he has rolled back Obama-era rules on the environment, gun rights, the internet and financial regulations.
Support for Trump has broken down sharply along party lines.
His overall job approval number has fallen to the mid-30s, a new low, but the GOP number has remained steady in the past two months.
Even if Trump’s core holds, the erosion of support from independents and wavering Democrats would jeopardise his ability to build support in swing states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida, said Paul Maslin, a Democratic pollster based in Wisconsin.
The Trump’s message after his recent overseas trip was directed at his supporters back home: He reinforced his “America First” slogan by travelling to Nato’s headquarters demanding allies increase defense spending and refused to support the mutual defence pact.
Trump’s legislative agenda has slowed, in large part due to divisions among his Republican allies on health care and taxes. The Republican-led bill to dismantle the Obama-era health law narrowly passed the House, and Senate Republicans have struggled to bridge their divide in crafting legislation.