Flynn fi­asco is a test Trump must pass

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION -

This ed­i­to­rial ap­peared in The Raleigh News & Ob­server:

Michael Flynn had every­thing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump was look­ing for in a se­nior White House na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser. He is a re­tired lieu­tenant gen­eral and though Trump was de­ferred from mil­i­tary ser­vice, he has been en­am­ored of gen­er­als. He is a toughtalk­ing, Amer­ica-First true be­liever. And, he was a critic of Pres­i­dent Barack Obama. Flynn fit the Trump mold of want­ing to get in-your-face to Democrats and ca­reer gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials. In most of his ap­point­ments, from the En­ergy De­part­ment to Ed­u­ca­tion to La­bor to se­nior ad­vis­ers, Trump has de­lighted in go­ing against the main­stream.

But now, with Flynn’s res­ig­na­tion af­ter em­bar­rass­ing and po­ten­tially dam­ag­ing rev­e­la­tions about his pre-in­au­gu­ral con­tacts with Rus­sia, Trump is in the first ma­jor cri­sis of his pres­i­dency — less than two months af­ter tak­ing of­fice. The fun of thumb­ing his nose at the es­tab­lish­ment with ap­point­ments like that of right-wing na­tion­al­ist Steve Ban­non as se­nior strategist is over. Re­plac­ing Flynn and restor­ing con­fi­dence in Flynn’s po­si­tion and con­fi­dence in the pres­i­dent him­self, in ad­di­tion to clar­i­fy­ing the U.S. po­si­tion with re­gard to Rus­sia, is a test Trump must pass or he risks los­ing sup­port in Congress and the con­fi­dence of the peo­ple. In­di­ca­tions al­ready show a drop in Trump’s ap­proval rat­ings, and a pres­i­dent with­out sig­nif­i­cant pub­lic sup­port, even if it is less than a ma­jor­ity, can­not gov­ern ef­fec­tively.

There will be time for Congress to in­ves­ti­gate just what Flynn told a Rus­sian am­bas­sador about Trump’s views of the sanc­tions Pres­i­dent Obama im­posed af­ter in­tel­li­gence agen­cies found a like­li­hood that Rus­sia was hack­ing emails to help Trump with the pres­i­dency. What he said, and whether he made guar­an­tees of some kind that Trump would lift the sanc­tions, are ques­tions that must be an­swered.

Let this be a se­ri­ous re­al­iza­tion to the pres­i­dent as well that the busi­ness of gov­ern­ing is not ide­o­log­i­cal, and that those who are cho­sen by the chief ex­ec­u­tive for im­por­tant po­si­tions must be mea­sured first in com­pe­tence, rea­son, in­tegrity and ex­pe­ri­ence. Par­ti­san fac­tors can have a place on the list, but not the first place.

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