President Donald Trump needs to change his tune, believe me
Believe me. How many times have you heard those two words come from President Donald Trump’s lips? Dozens, if not hundreds.
And when he says those words, he’s not saying them to punctuate a point; he’s saying them because he’s telling us that we should believe him in the literal sense, no matter how ridiculous the claim.
“I know more about ISIS than the generals do, believe me,” he said over a year ago on the campaign trail. To me, that’s the quintessential Trumpian “believe me,” in that there probably isn’t one person on this great green Earth that actually believed that statement.
But again: I assert that he meant it. And you know why? Because for his entire public life, he’s been pulling the same “believe me” stuff and we lapped it up every time, mostly because it didn’t matter.
All of his claims before he started running for president — true or not — were trivial. Thus, we had nothing to lose by “believing” it, usually passively. You’ve got the classiest buildings? Sure fine whatever. Your girlfriends are gorgeous? Great wonderful fantastic. Your steaks are the bestest, your vodka is the classiest, your TV show is the greatest, your university is the smartest, and on and on and on? OK then. That’s great. Lovely.
But let’s look at it from Trump’s perspective: His whole life he’s made ridiculous claims, and his whole life none of us checked him on it. So he figured — correctly — he could keep on doing it through the presidential campaign. But now, as president, the “believe me” act is wearing thin.
It was fun when he was our rich Uncle Donald. But now that he’s the president of the United States, it’s not fun. Not at all.
Especially right now, when things are going south.
Really, from any objective angle, his first month as president has been a disaster. The travel ban is tied up in courts, these weird/scary ties to Russian intelligence have come out, his national security advisor resigned, another cabinet nominee quit, the head of the military’s Special Operations Command publicly said the White House is in “unbelievable turmoil,” and Trump continues to lie about voter fraud (and if not “lie,” spread baseless claims). And those are just the highlights.
Upon thinking about it, it’s no surprise he’s having campaign rally Saturday in Florida, and yes, you read that right, a campaign rally. For the 2020 race. It’s been hyped through his campaign website and his press secretary Melissa McCar-, er Sean Spicer called it a “campaign event.” Why would he do this 29 days into his first term? Who knows. But I bet he’s going to feel good when he lets loose with a few “believe me’s” and his loyal supporters cheer in response.
Of course, the non-supporters outweigh the supporters these days. Gallup has Trump at a 41 percent approval rating, which is the lowest ever for a new president since Gallup began tracking in 1953. To give an even starker idea of how low 41 percent approval is when it comes to the office of the president, consider this: As he was leaving office, Richard Nixon still carried a 24 percent approval rating. Trump is unpopular, point of fact. (But according to Gallup, only 20 percent of Americans trust newspapers, so polls schmolls, right?)
You’d think he’d try to do something about this. You’d think instead of surrounding himself with political neophytes, he’d find quality people to help him out. You’d think instead of continuing to insist he knows more than everybody, he’d admit the job is bigger than he thought. You’d think he could check his ego, if only for a few moments, in an effort to get the majority of the country in his corner.
But he’s not doing any of this, and he probably won’t. As a result, we’re probably going to pinball around based on his whims while we all silently pray he’s not truly tested in any meaningful way. In the end, probably not a whole lot is going to get done.
President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn upon arrival at the White House in Washington from a trip to Florida.