The Christian Science Monitor

How President Trump became the GOP’s ‘new normal’

On Election Day 2016, Ari Fleischer was so unhappy with the choices for president he left his ballot blank. 

It pained him to do so. Mr. Fleischer is a staunch Republican; he had served as President George W. Bush’s press secretary. But, he says in an interview, GOP nominee Donald Trump had gone too far, starting with the so-called Muslim ban.

Now, Mr. Fleischer says, if the election were held today he’d vote for President Trump. His change of heart is “policy-driven,” he says, pointing to tax reform, deregulation, and even Mr. Trump’s use of tariffs as a tool to change China’s behavior, a profound shift in the Republican approach to trade. 

Not that Mr. Trump gets a blank check. “Everybody still needs to speak up when the president rhetorically goes too far,” Mr. Fleischer says. 

A test of this approach – applaud Mr. Trump on policy,

Defining “normal”Impact on the presidency

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