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Long IslandColumnistsDan Janison

How Trump vexed wall fans, war hawks and tough-on-crime types

President Donald Trump on Thursday.

President Donald Trump on Thursday. Credit: Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla

Within a week, President Donald Trump has managed to incense several constituencies in his Republican Party.

Key among these was his announcement that U.S. troops would soon leave Syria. Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said: "History will look at that as one of the stupidest strategic moves before a negotiation." Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) called it a "grave error" that will waste U.S. influence.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the most widely quoted, called it "an Obama-like mistake."

Adding to their sting was that Trump's announcement clashed with his own administration's recent postures. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis let it be known that he found withdrawal premature well before submitting his resignation on Thursday. National Security Adviser John Bolton said in September that one U.S. goal in Syria was to have Iran's forces leave; they have not.

And only last April, Trump ordered airstrikes in retaliation for Syrian President Bashar Assad's reported use of chemical weapons against civilians, which was widely read as a warning to Iran and Russia.

Even if it’s right to do, U.S. withdrawal seems like quite the reverse, a win for Assad.

Last week, Trump irked top GOP lawmakers by proudly waving the threat of a partial government shutdown should an interim year-end spending bill not provide $5 billion for border barriers. For obvious reasons, elected officials don't want to be held responsible for interrupting the government they're supposed to make work.

Trump soon dropped the threat via spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders. This cave-in solved one problem but caused another. It alarmed GOP immigration hard-liners in the House who faced a vote on a Senate bill to extend spending to Feb. 8 without wall funding.

“The House Freedom Caucus is sick of the games," roared Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) on Wednesday night. "The American people are sick of the games."

Right-wing media provocateur Ann Coulter warned that, without the wall, the Trump tenure will "just have been a joke presidency" that "scammed the American people."

Trump's cave-in drew harsh reviews on "Fox & Friends," which he watches loyally and which often cues his morning tweets.

Co-host Steve Doocy called the Trump-Sanders cave-in "a stunning turn of events" and a victory for Democrats.

And so it was back to shutdown talk.

Trump signed a farm-aid bill Thursday that had wide bipartisan support. But it had this momentum because farmers saw it as helping to cushion the effect of Trump's tariff war, which traditional economic conservatives warned him against in the first place.

Then there's the pending criminal-justice reform bill, touted as reducing massive incarceration and severe punishments for minor crimes.

Although such bipartisan legislation was poised to advance before Trump's election — which effectively delayed it for two years — the president's daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, have pushed for the measure. The president has praised it and plans to sign it.

Not all to the right of the political center are happy.

Earlier this month Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) sought to amend it and failed. On Dec. 11, he said from the floor during a Senate session that the bill "allows early release for many categories of serious, violent criminals.

"This includes felons who commit violent bank robberies with dangerous weapons, who assault children, and who commit carjacking with the intent to cause death."

Given Trump's frequent demonizing of Democrats, he isn't expected to try to return to his old party. But angry allies can sometimes prove more of a political hazard than habitual opponents, and a few of them just made their feelings known.

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