Two years ago Donald J. Trump descended an escalator in Trump Tower, delivered a speech focused on winning trade deals and keeping immigrants out of the United States, and announced his candidacy for president.
The themes he talked about that day came to dominate his campaign messaging. "Build that wall" became a constant refrain among Trump supporters at rallies and on Twitter. In the first presidential debate, Trump proclaimed NAFTA to be "the worst trade deal maybe ever signed anywhere, but certainly ever signed in this country."
The other policy proposals floated throughout the campaign — like those on tax reform — did not generate the same enthusiasm among Trump's supporters. Perhaps because of that, immigration became a top priority early in his presidency to satisfy his voters.
But the Trump administration has recently pivoted to focus on some of the less-prominent campaign promises. In a pair of tweets on June 16, the president called out
The president cited it as evidence that
"[the] MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN agenda is doing very well. ... Many new jobs, high business enthusiasm."
There's certainly evidence for that high business enthusiasm. Small-business owners are some of Trump's stronger supporters: 58 percent of them approve of the job Trump is doing as president. Their optimism is likely related to Trump's refocused agenda rather than his initial priorities. Nearly 4 in 10 (39 percent) name either taxes or regulation as the most critical issue facing their businesses. Concerns about these two issues greatly outweigh concerns about the costs of labor and capital.