GOP strategist says Trump team could be emboldened by protests

- A veteran GOP strategist says, instead of being bothered by widespread protests, the Trump team is encouraged by them.

"It sets up this "us versus them" mindset that they really feed off of," Lanhee Chen told KTVU.

"So I don't think it bothers them some people are in opposition, in some ways it may embolden them."

Chen was among the panelists taking part in a Commonwealth Club discussion Monday night, analyzing President Trump's performance so far.

"Presidents always want to show a lot of momentum at the start of administrations. So with these executive actions, he's demonstrates he's not just talk, but we'll see how much of it sticks," observed Chen.

Chen is a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

He was an advisor to candidate Marco Rubio in 2016, and worked on Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential run.

Chen admitted to the audience, he didn't vote for Donald Trump, the first time in his life that he did not support a GOP nominee.

Chen suggested that the tone of the campaign, and the candidate, did not sit well with him.

"Now that he's in office, I think people are trying to separate out the policy from the tone and I know that's very hard to do," he observed, "but that's what I encourage people to do, is evaluate policy on the merits."

Chen added, anyone who thought Trump would be different after winning, hasn't been watching, because Trump vowed to be the anti-establishment President.

"Lots of people said, 'when Donald Trump changes.'" smiled Chen.

"Well those are famous last words, because that hasn't happened, and I don't think we should expect it to."

Chen notes, in terms of pace, Barack Obama issued about the same number of early executive orders, but with Donald Trump, the substance and scope are quite different.

"There has not been a policy he has not touched by executive action, it's every hot button issue," he exclaimed, "and I think by and large Republicans are quite pleased with the policies that have come out of the first eleven days."

The audience was asked if the temporary immigration ban on Muslim countries was "the right thing to do."

Most marked on an easel, "no."

Chen admits the policy was initiated with inadequate planning, resulting in mass confusion.

"I do think some of these kinks will probably get ironed out as people get experience and figure it out, " he told the audience.

But impeachment talk? Chen calls it "hysterical."

"I understand people have very strong views, and don't agree with what he's done. He has definitely stretched executive authority. But has he done anything so far that's extra- constitutional? I don't think so."

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