TRUMP’S FIRST PRIORITY
Certainly The Donald’s candor and spontaneity were tremendous assets during his campaign. People loved that shoot-from-the-hip attitude by which he gave voice to their frustrations. As I observed in a blog post back in August of 2015…
“Trump is rich enough to not worry about alienating anybody. This has had a refreshingly liberating effect on his campaign style, freeing him to say whatever he damn-well-pleases about things that are obvious but politically charged.
“The public is eating it up …. People are weary of being told that what they know to be true is simply a shadow of their own fears and biases.”
They ate up all of his tweets just as eagerly. The more blunt and colloquial, the better.
Here was a guy who expressed himself “just like you and me” — who wasn’t intimidated by “The Establishment.” Maybe he really could “drain the swamp” in Washington.
For my part, I’ve often been annoyed at this Trumpian verbal bent, criticizing it as “stream-of-consciousness rambling.” But hey, it got him elected, so I guess you can’t blame the guy for assuming it’s what people want.
Now that he’s President, however, Trump is finding that the tendency to vent his inner convictions-in-formation does not serve the objectives of governance as well as it did those of ambition.
It isn’t like he doesn’t know that the entire Progressive cadre is parsing his every utterance for the merest hint of a Watergate-style impulse on which to demand his ouster. Hell, the impeachment hearings were being planned before the inauguration ceremony. Yet, he persists in giving his enemies so much to work with.
Add to that the sad fact that there’s no such thing as confidentiality in this administration. The entire Executive Branch is so riddled with the burrows of holdover Obama moles, no wonder leaks to our all-too-eager, all-too-hostile media can’t be plugged.
I can easily imagine The Donald half-joking to Comey that he should back-off the Flynn investigation. That’s how Trump would talk. Likewise, the line about how Comey better worry whether their conversations were taped has an authentic Trumpian ring.
The Donald would enjoy saying something flip like that, whether or not a tape recorder had been running. (Well, a digital recorder nowadays — but you know what I mean.)
And there’s no doubt the remark would have drawn a huge laugh if he’d said it to a campaign audience.
But there’s the difference.
Candidate Trump could be freewheeling and glib. Coming from President Trump, on the other hand, such words really do sound like obstruction of justice — or at least they can be made to sound that way.
One wonders if there’s some kind of strategy here. Perhaps the idea is to provide his enemies so much fodder that they start looking petty.
Well, they were looking petty months ago. And if this is indeed the plan, it’s a risky one. As the Bible puts it…
“The tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life…” (James 3:6)
Trump has to douse the sparks from his tongue.
Conservatives who opposed The Donald maintain that his behavior lends credence to their reservations about his character. Writing in National Review, Ben Shapiro reflects on Trump’s background in television, dismissing him as a mere entertainer…
“He acts like an entertainer. He obsesses about his ratings, he spends hours on his hair, he agonizes over public perceptions of his successes and failures. He cannot bear to be out of the spotlight, and he feels personally threatened by those who occupy it more than he does for any period of time.”
Put off by what he sees as the sycophancy of Trump’s White House circle, Shapiro wonders if The Donald is capable of self-correction…
“The only question is whether Trump has enough character to acknowledge when he’s made a mistake, if anyone is willing to speak honestly to him ….
“Character still matters in the presidency. Age 70 is a little late to be getting started in developing some, but if Trump wants to have a successful presidency, he’d better start now.”
Which is putting things a bit more harshly than I might, but Shipiro’s critique is basically on point.
There is much that Trump needs to do — trapping all those Obama moles being high on the list. But first priority must be given to self-discipline. A President simply can’t say whatever-he-damn-well-pleases.
The second priority would be getting his key spokesmen to read from the same script. Multiple, conflicting stories emanating from within the administration itself have helped to stoke the fires ignited by Trump’s combustible tongue.
Once he gets his own house in order, Trump can attend to the rest of the cleanup that’s needed. And Ben Shapiro’s advice about starting now is correct.
The Donald better hop to it.
Or else Mike Pence might be the one doing the cleaning.
Ben Shapiro, editor of The Daily Wire, was a strong anti-Trump voice from the right back before the election. That explains some of the edge on his criticism of The Donald. Take it as you will, Shapiro makes some valid points. Here’s the link to his National Review essay…
It can hardly be said that congressional Republicans are a loyal Trump constituency. But according to The Hill, the word impeachment is on their lips too. Rather prematurely, I’d say. But I guess they’re thinking about it…
I write from a position of sympathy. But here’s a conservative Trump critic, John Podhoretz, who sees The Donald going down in history…
“as a monument to failure unless he wises up and pronto.”
Podhoretz’s advice to Trump?…
From the New York Post…