Help­ing For­eign Rulers, Just by Com­par­i­son

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

The drama sur­round­ing Don­ald Trump’s ad­min­is­tra­tion could fuel many sea­sons on Com­edy Cen­tral. Con­sider this: in his first six months in of­fice, Trump has fired 12 se­nior peo­ple in his ad­min­is­tra­tion, an av­er­age of two ex­its per month. The av­er­age is de­cep­tive: direc­tor of com­mu­ni­ca­tions, foul-mouthed An­thony Scara­mucci was sacked af­ter 10 days, act­ing at­tor­ney gen­eral Sally Yates lasted 11 days, and na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser Mike Flynn was fired af­ter 23 days in of­fice. The most shock­ing ex­its were of FBI chief James Comey af­ter 110 days at work that in­cluded prob­ing Rus­sian med­dling in US elec­tions, and that of Reince Priebus, former White House chief of staff, whose ten­ure lasted an epic 189 days. Trump could walk into the sets of ‘ The Ap­pren­tice’, a TV show he hosted through 2004-15. At the cli­max of every episode, he would dis­miss failed con­tes­tants, ex­claim­ing, “You’re fired.” His ex­ec­u­tive pow­ers, too, have been dented in the Se­nate and Congress. In mid-July, Trump’s at­tempt to slash med­i­cal in­sur­ance for mil­lions of Amer­i­cans was shot down in the Se­nate. Three Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors, led by war-hero and former pres­i­den­tial can­di­date John McCain, voted against Trump­care. Re­cently, Congress voted de­ci­sively, with a mar­gin of 419 to 3, to main­tain sanc­tions against Rus­sia against the pres­i­dent’s wishes. Trump could not veto this sort of ma­jor­ity; Congress would sim­ply make it into law af­ter the veto. Clearly, law­mak­ers do not trust the pres­i­dent. Grum­bling, Trump signed off on it. Trump’s ac­tions have alienated many who had sup­ported his cam­paign. His grip on ex­ec­u­tive au­thor­ity and knowl­edge about im­por­tant is­sues look ten­u­ous. Such fick­le­ness at the top of­fice of the planet’s largest eco­nomic and mil­i­tary power should worry ev­ery­one — ex­cept the peo­ple at Com­edy Cen­tral.

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