viernes, 23 de diciembre de 2016

Inside Trump’s dalliance with Democrats

'Any time you have a concern, any time you have a good idea, give me a call,' Manchin said Trump told him.

'Anytime you have a good idea, give me a call,' he told one moderate after an hour-long chat.

When Donald Trump rang West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin after the two spent an hour together at Trump Tower last week, the president-elect made a surprise proposition.

Not an offer of the Cabinet post for which Manchin was reportedly considered, but rather an invitation to stay in touch. “Any time you have a concern, any time you have a good idea, give me a call," Manchin said Trump told him.

The gesture made a strong impression on the red-state Democrat. “I’ve had my side of the aisle in power for eight years and I’ve had nowhere near that kind of access,” he noted.

While Trump has dismayed many Democrats with his vows to dismantle Barack Obama’s initiatives and the ideological slant of some of his Cabinet picks, he has struck a more amicable tone in recent meetings at Trump Tower with members of the opposition. In those encounters, he has been collegial, inquiring about visitors' expertise and expressing interest in collaborating with them, especially when that might mean an early victory for the White House, according to several Democrats who have either met with Trump or been briefed on the discussions.

Trump’s early interactions with Democratic moderates are unlikely to signal the dynamic of his relationship with the opposition party. Like most politicians, he is adept at modulating his tone for different audiences and it is significant that Manchin and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, for instance, represent states that voted overwhelmingly for him. Still, these early, positive engagements could pose a hurdle to the faction of the Democratic Party that wants to draw an obstructionist line in the sand.

Trump’s transactional approach jibes particularly well with moderates who thrive on cutting deals with their counterparts across the aisle. Manchin, Heitkamp and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii have all broken with their party at times and Democrats off Capitol Hill, such as former Washington schools chancellor Michelle Rhee and Success Academy Charter Schools CEO Eva Moskowitz, are similarly used to working with both parties to advance their agendas. All five have met with Trump about Cabinet posts.

“I did not get the impression that whether you were a Democrat or a Republican mattered very much to him,” said Moskowitz, a Hillary Clinton supporter, who was reportedly under consideration for Education secretary. “That was not his focus. His focus was bringing very significant change and finding talent.”

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