President Donald Trump won the presidency with his appeals to blue-collar white workers in the Midwest with promises that included rebuilding America's manufacturing industry, invest money in the country's crumbling infrastructure, and using Medicare's negotiating power to lower the cost of prescription drugs.
However, a devastating New York Times report shows that the president has "accomplished little" for these Americans and is instead relying on fueling culture wars to win the 2020 election.
"Since he became president, Mr. Trump has largely operated as a conventional Republican, signing taxes that benefit high-end earners and companies, rolling back regulations on corporations and appointing administration officials and judges with deep roots in the conservative movement," the Times report notes. "His approach has delighted much of the political right."
The report then goes on to outline the problems Trump has had in implementing some of his more populist proposals, including his total lack of engagement from the legislative process, the hardcore conservative views of the House Freedom Caucus, and the way that Fox News regularly attacks populist policy ideas.
"Mr. Trump is surrounded by conservatives in the White House, such as his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, a former Tea Party congressman who has no appetite for raising the gas tax to pay for an infrastructure bill or to make businesses swallow a minimum-wage increase," the report writes. "In fact, the prospect of a major public works bill has become a running joke among West Wing aides."
Trump ally Newt Gingrich, however, tells the Times that Trump's actual accomplishments for working people aren't as important as the scorched-Earth campaign that he will eventually run against the Democratic nominee.
"I think he doesn’t mind if it happens, but it’s not his primary focus," Gingrich said of fulfilling his promises to blue-collar workers. "His primary focus is to so thoroughly define Democrats as the party of the radical left. I think that matters much more to him than any particular bill."