George W. Bush attempted to put Harriet Miers on the Supreme Court and pushed comprehensive immigration reform, “No Child Left Behind,” the General Motors Bailout, etc. I opposed all those, but never doubted President Bush’s integrity, character, or faith. Frankly, Trump does not have the character or strong Christian faith I prefer in a President. But he is positively angelic compared to his political opponents and the press. Between Trump and his opposition, I would rather vote for him, despite his flaws, than his opponents who want a flawless progressive utopia. Trump is neither an ambassador for my values nor the articulate champion of my principles I would prefer. But he is a safe harbor in a progressive storm that seeks to both destroy my values and upend our constitutional republic.
In his book Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again, Trump, too, framed his agenda as a defense of “American exceptionalism.” “Maybe my biggest beef with Obama is his view that there’s nothing special or exceptional about America—that we’re no different than any other country.” Trump later adopted a catchier slogan, “Make America Great Again,” but it retained the nativist overtones and racial dog whistles of the first. Paired with Trump’s open conspiracy-mongering about Obama’s forged birth certificate and supposed Muslim faith, it amplified and dramatized the Republican establishment’s slyer assertions about Obama’s un-American values.
Bannon was also pleased that his group had Trump’s ear. A rivalry had developed between Trump’s outside advisers and the White House political shop, and Bannon’s group was winning. “The war room should be done by the White House, but there’s no one there competent enough or hardworking enough to do it,” he told me. “You got the ‘hardcores’ on the outside who understand Trump’s message, understand Trump, understand the base and what got him here and what takes him to the next level.” In June, Trump ignored the advice of Stepien and DeStefano and gleefully plunged into G.O.P. primaries. Trump even tweeted that he was defying their counsel. “My political representatives didn’t want me to get involved in the Mark Sanford primary, thinking that Sanford would easily win,” he wrote on June 13. “Sanford was so bad, I had to give it a shot.” In late June, according to a source, Trump flew to South Carolina against Stepien and DeStefano’s wishes to campaign for South Carolina governor Henry McMaster, who was fending off a tough primary challenge. McMaster won.
On January 23, 2017, Trump ordered a temporary government-wide hiring freeze, except for those working in certain areas. The Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office told a House committee that hiring freezes have not proven to be effective in reducing costs. Unlike some past freezes, the current freeze bars agencies from adding contractors to make up for employees leaving. A week later Trump signed Executive Order 13771, which directed administrative agencies to repeal two existing regulations for every new regulation they issue. Agency defenders expressed opposition to Trump's criticisms, saying that the bureaucracy exists to protect people against well-organized, well-funded interest groups.
The day after his speech in Phoenix, Trump made his first presidential visit to Nevada (a swing state) for an American Legion event in Reno. Unlike during the previous night's rally, Trump did not attack Governor Brian Sandoval and Senator Dean Heller, two Republican politicians in attendance who have stood in opposition to some of the healthcare proposals championed by the president.