The enduring feature of Trumpism can be found in the House Rules package

The enduring feature of Trumpism can be found in the House Rules package

Updated: 25 days, 7 hours, 7 minutes, 42 seconds ago

Still, it should not go unnoticed that slipped into the rules package passed Monday by a Republican majority in the House was an across-the-board spending cut that could slash funding for the military by 10 percent. That said, the rules also split up the budget so members of each committee get to weigh in on their policy areas and set their own goals.

The GOP has changed markedly since then, of course, with the rise of Donald Trump and his reorientation of the party.

For decades the Republican Party has been defined by three things: fiscal conservatism, social conservatism, and a belief in a strong military. Ronald Reagan called each element part of the three-legged stool that held up his party.


Republicans have two goals here — to cut spending overall and to put more scrutiny on the administration’s investment in the defense of Ukraine.

There will a lot of debate about this. But the mere fact that Republicans are debating the future of military spending — and doing so with some power in Washington — it is a stunning reversal of GOP orthodoxy. And, indeed, the concept of a strong, interventionist foreign policy no longer being a Republican talking point may be the most real and enduring impact that Trump had on his party.

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The other two parts of the Republican three-legged stool are still firmly intact today. As president, Trump, with Republican majorities in Congress, passed one of the largest tax cuts in history — even if it did drive up the national debt, something the GOP aims to address now. He also did what no previous president had done: fulfilled a promise to social conservatives to put judges on the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade.

Trump’s handling of foreign policy was another matter. On a 2016 presidential primary debate stage, Trump broke with Republican Party orthodoxy to call the Iraq War a mistake from the beginning. Others said mistakes were made in the execution of the war but wouldn’t go as far as Trump.


This morphed into Trump’s “America First” foreign policy that, as the title implied, questioned American involvement around the world, from wars to serving as the world’s police, to financing global institutions, like the United Nations and NATO. While Trump could be inconsistent at times, like bombing a Syrian airbase for humanitarian reasons, his administration was also the architect of a deal that would remove the United States from Afghanistan.

This “America First” agenda persisting after Trump’s presidency means that there’s a healthy discussion on the right about just how involved America should be in the Ukraine war or whether America should really risk World War III to prevent China from taking over Taiwan.

Representative Chip Roy of Texas wrote on Twitter it was a lie that the cuts outlined in the rules package passed Monday night impacted the military. But Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, a powerful member of the Republican caucus, said on “Fox News Sunday”that in light of a $31 trillion national debt, everything, including military spending, needs to be examined.

“We better look at the money we send to Ukraine as well and say, ‘how can we best spend the money to protect America,” Jordan said.

It used to be Democrats who passed resolutions askingthat a percentage of military spending be cut.


To be clear, even if Republicans want to rein in spending on the military and other places, a Democrat-controlled Senate and White House can, and probably will, disagree, at least in the next two years before the next election.

The fascinating thing to watch in 2023 is how Republican presidential candidates handle this question about military spending and a strong foreign policy generally as they interact with Republican activists in Iowa, New Hampshire, and elsewhere.

James Pindell can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jamespindell and on Instagram @jameswpindell.

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