The Trump law
President, six months in, is destroying hope for his term
Donald Trump is living down to the worst fears of even people who cast ballots for him in November. I’m not referring to matters of policy. I prefer a president and representatives in Congress who lean conservative. I’m convinced many Arkansans and many Americans voted for Trump more as a vote against Hillary Clinton and the advancement of policies she would have pursued.
They support Republican policies more than Democratic ones. But unlike in the 1980s and thereafter when Republicans loved to call themselves “Reagan Republicans,” I don’t hear that many of them declaring themselves “Trump Republicans” these days.
Certainly, Trump has his fans, but since he’s hardly a ideological Republican, a lot of those fans are people who just get a kick out of his unconventional tactics. If Trump were to operate on the basis of any oath, it might resemble the opposite of the 12 points of the Boy Scout Law: He’s cringe-worthy, only temporarily loyal, unhelpful, unfriendly, discourteous, unkind, obstinate, cheerless, risky, brash, unclean and irreverent.
Some will say I’m being disrespectful, and I dislike using such descriptions for a man who rose to the office of the presidency once filled by George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Ronald Reagan and others who brought greatness to the office. Trump just tells us of his greatness, but continues a daily assault on any hope that his achievements will contribute to such a description of his presidency.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told The Associated Press Wednesday that he and President Trump have “a harmony of values and beliefs.” That statement may be hard for some to comprehend after watching Trump berate Sessions for much of the preceding week. For many Trump supporters, their hopes for a Trump presidency don’t rely on him being a likeable guy, but stem from their desire to see the nation go a different direction than the Democrats would take it.
Donald Trump’s supporters were never a “basket of deplorables,” but their candidate in six months has built a pretty strong case that he can compete for the title.
Trump arrogantly believed governing would be easy, that all he had to do to whip the federal government into shape was to become president. He achieved that on Jan. 20. But there’s a world of difference between becoming president and being president, just as there’s a massive difference between talking about leadership and actually knowing how to provide it.
It’s a no-brainer, as it was in November, that Hillary Clinton would have carried herself with more presidential decorum than Trump can manage. It’s also a no-brainer today that she would have been far more capable of drafting a comprehensible approach to influencing Congress. In that regard, Trump considers leadership to be a daily collection of rants via Twitter in which he will pummel as an enemy someone who last week he considered a “fantastic” friend.
What he’s doing to Jeff Sessions is deplorable. He nominated this man just months ago as his best selection to lead the U.S. Department of Justice. Sessions has been a consistent defender of Trump from the campaign through to the Oval Office. He was willing to put himself through the grinder of Senate confirmation because the president asked him to serve the nation.
Oh, who am I kidding? Donald Trump doesn’t ask people to serve their nation. He asks them to serve Donald Trump.
He gives speeches constructed like a verbal pinball machine. His speech to the Boys Scouts of America at their National Jamboree, an event to which every sitting president is invited, was an embarrassment. It had a few elements that resembled encouragement of young people, but Trump is incapable of staying on point. He appears unable to resist stroking his own ego and trying to make himself appear greater by diminishing others. Every Scout in that audience has been taught better manners than their president demonstrates. If Trump had been a Scout, he would be a better person today.
Six months into his presidency, he’s firing people and others are resigning. Any hope he was going to be an effective negotiator with Congress and other nations has disappeared. Apparently, he’s just a great negotiator when he’s the only billionaire in the room full of hired hands.
I want better from our president. The nation deserves competency. It doesn’t get it when the chief executive’s strategy for dealing with health care is to hope everything falls apart so he’ll be begged to fix it.
His supporters will say “What about” then name some past president’s objectionable policy or behavior. That should tell them how bad things have gotten. They’re justifying awful behavior by trying to find something they consider worse in the past.
That’s what they sometimes call a race to the bottom. America can’t be great again with that approach.