MOMENT: Trump being presidential should not be rare
First, the book has prompted Trump to show Americans a side of himself they had not previously seen. Where has the White House been hiding this guy? Watching Trump being this presidential should not be as rare as snow in the Sahara. If Americans saw more of this Trump, he’d be rising in the polls. Trump needs to realize that it was this meeting, not his barrage of tweets, that finally destroyed Wolff ’s account. The lesson is that being presidential is far more powerful than the tactics that got him to the White House.
Second, the Wolff book has discredited Trump’s media critics who embraced Wolff ’s conclusions that Trump did not have the mental capacity to be president. NBC’s Peter Alexander asked during a White House news briefing, “Should Americans be concerned about the president’s mental fitness?” CNN ran a story declaring, “Doctors call Trump’s mental health ‘danger to nation.’ “Politico reported that talk of the 25th Amendment, which allows for the removal of the president from office, is “Washington’s growing obsession.” The New York Times ran an editorial asking, “Is Mr. Trump Nuts?”
Any sentient American who watched Trump in serious discussions with members of Congress could tell this “president with a drool cup” caricature is absurd. The fact that the media gave so much print and airtime to this caricature did more to harm their credibility than all of Trump’s incessant “fake news” tweeting over the past year.
Third, the book has brought about the end of Stephen Bannon. Not only has Bannon lost his White House job, he’s nowlost the support of the Mercer family, his position at Breitbart and his credibility on the national stage. And he has earned a presidential nickname — “Sloppy Steve.” His demise is a blow to the ethnonationalists of the alt-right and a chance for Trump to remove an albatross around the neck of his presidency.
The president is now at a crossroads. It was he who let the media stay in the room for the meeting, and it worked. So, what does he do next? Does he build on this success by delivering a substantive bipartisan State of the Union address, and use the power and trappings of the presidency to expand his base of support? Or does he go back to the tactics that made those questioning his fitness for office seem even remotely credible?
His opponents have overreached and given him an opening. The question is: Will he seize it or squander it?