By Mohammad Mazhari

Trump remains popular with Republicans: academic

May 7, 2021 - 17:56

TEHRAN – An American academic says that Trump is yet popular among republicans though he has lost parts of his appeal.

"Trump remains popular with Republicans, even though it does appear that his appeal is eroding," Anthony Pahnke, the assistant professor of international relations at San Francisco State University, tells the Tehran Times.

Donald Trump returned to the spotlight, telling enthusiastic conservatives in the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando that he may run for president again in 2024, as he sought to reassert his dominance over a Republican Party that is out of power.

Former President Donald Trump staked his claim to the Republican Party in his speech, casting his populist policies and attack-dog politics as the key to future Republican success.

Trump also reinforced his commitment to the GOP in his address.

"The big issue that Republicans - and Trump - are latching onto is immigration. If Biden fails to make a difference in this area, then this paves the way for Trump, or someone like him, to stage a comeback and mount another campaign on extreme U.S. nationalism," according to Pahnke.

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: How do critics of Biden see his first 100-days? What are his achievements compared with the Trump presidency?

A: Biden's critics see his first 100 days, specifically, the COVID relief bill and the proposed infrastructure legislation, as wasteful. Conservative critics also see Biden as failing to act effectively on immigration. 

It is hard to compare Biden's first 100 days with Trump, mainly because of the global COVID pandemic. There was no imminent spending bill that the Trump administration had to consider when he took office. Trump oversaw no significant legislation passed in his first 100 days but did many executive orders concerning immigration.

Q: Gun control advocates pin their hopes on Joe Biden's Gun control policy. Do you predict any change in this regard?

A: It is unlikely that gun reform legislation will move with Congress as it is. Legislation on guns requires 60 votes in the Senate to move forward, and those votes - which would include Republicans - are not there. So, it's next to impossible to move any legislation that would address guns.

Q: Trump is resolute to come back in 2024. What are the repercussions of his move on Democrats and Biden's administration performance? 

A: Trump remains popular with Republicans, even though it does appear that his appeal is eroding. The big issue that Republicans - and Trump - are latching onto is immigration. 

If Biden fails to make a difference in this area, then this paves the way for Trump, or someone like him, to stage a comeback and mount another campaign on extreme U.S. nationalism.

Q: What is Biden's policy when it comes to Asia and West Asia in particular? Getting rid of West Asian crises and focusing on China?

A: In the Middle East (West Asia), it seems that Biden would like to approximate the Iranian government in some way. It appears now that his government is not as recalcitrant as the Trump administration. In Saudi Arabia, it appears that Biden will follow the Trump administration in appeasing the monarchy instead of challenging them. Still, overall, most of the focus of the Biden administration until now has been domestic.

Q: Do you expect Israel may wage war if the U.S. reaches a deal with Iran?

A: There may be some saber-rattling, but unlikely an actual, full-scale war.   

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