Some of the most prominent voices in the conservative base were furious at President Trump on Friday after he agreed to reopen the government without getting money for a border wall — the sort of terms he had spent more than a month rejecting. They derided the deal as a capitulation by a leader who they had trusted to stand firm.
Among those leading the charge was the conservative author Ann Coulter, one of Mr. Trump’s earliest and firmest supporters. She told The Times columnist Frank Bruni last year that “implementing the principles of ‘The Communist Manifesto’” would be less of a betrayal by Mr. Trump than retreating on the wall, one of his central campaign promises. Some on the right picked up on that theme of betrayal on Friday.
Much of the criticism centered on toughness and steadiness, two qualities that Mr. Trump has long bragged about having. “Weak,” “wimp,” “beta” — these insults were hurled at the president from the right on Friday.
Peter Wehner, a senior fellow at the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center who worked for Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Bush and George W. Bush, wrote that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had “exposed” Mr. Trump “as pitifully weak, all bluster, a pathetic negotiator,” and that his backing down would undoubtedly hurt the president with his base. (Mr. Wehner himself, who is also a contributing opinion writer for The Times, has long been critical of Mr. Trump.)
The Breitbart News home page Friday afternoon blared, with “no wall” in bright red letters:
GOVERNMENT OPEN …
… AND BORDER
STILL NO SOTU!
The Daily Caller, another right-wing news outlet, declared in its own headline, “TRUMP CAVES.”
Fox News presented the news very differently. “DEAL REACHED,” its home page said, reporting that Mr. Trump and Democrats had come to an agreement.
This reflects a broader divide between two segments of Mr. Trump’s base: those, like Ms. Coulter, for whom a border wall is a major priority, and those who see Trumpism as something much larger. For the latter group, Friday’s announcement seemed a forgivable offense.
Then there was a third group: those who are staunchly committed to the wall and argued that Mr. Trump’s move on Friday was actually strategic.
“I am more proud of President Trump today than I have ever been,” wrote Bill Mitchell, an outspoken Trump supporter, arguing that the president had essentially guaranteed victory by vowing to declare a national emergency if Democrats do not fund the wall within three weeks.
The Fox News host Sean Hannity made a similar argument on his radio show. No, he said, Mr. Trump didn’t get any money for the wall in this deal — “but he’s going to.”