Truth about Trump
Despite his victory in 2016, Donald Trump had much to prove to the American people. He lost the popular vote by three million to Hillary Clinton and seemed only to deny this fact. Instead of trying to appeal to a majority of Americans, he appears content to appeal to the “base” using only anger as his platform. Whatever hope that he would be an original has gone by the boards — Trump is a crashing bore.
Partially the Republican party used him as a trojan horse to get into the gates and this has hurt his administration. It is Reaganism without the balancing personality of Ronald Reagan. Reagan had a gift for placing brakes on his ideological predilections. Perhaps he knew just how far to the right some Republicans really were. He quietly killed the anti-abortion bill offered by Senator Jesse Helms and compromised on Social Security. He was clever and incremental in his approach.
Trump, unlike Reagan, did not understand the players. He placed people he did not know on the cabinet and the results were disappointing. His foreign policy team had no ideas beyond what they learned under George W. Bush. Trump had Rex Tillerson and has Mike Pompeo, but no Henry Kissinger. Reagan got rid of neo-con Al Haig and appointed a very capable George Schultz as Secretary of State. James Mattis was Robert Gates and not Casper Weinberger, Then Trump placed mediocre figures such as Scott Pruitt into office, who enriched themselves at public expense.
With the lack of experience, savvy or historic memory, they resemble a gang of self-promoters who believe nothing and see every event in terms of personal advancement. Trump, unable to grow, takes up the flag and proceeds to God knows where. As a result, everything from domestic policy to diplomacy is reduced to the personal.
Take Trump’s resistance to giving federal employees a 2.1 percent raise. He probably is thinking of Peter Strzok or any other federal bureaucrat that has stood in the way. Like Richard Nixon, who once ruled out soup at a state dinner on the grounds “that men did not like” that course. Later, a reporter ran into Manolo Sanchez, Nixon’s major domo, who carried the president shirt which was bedecked with soup stains. “Men do not like soup,” indeed.
Trump’s petulance and lack of focus gave his opponents an opening. Of course he can depend on political sycophants like Lindsay Graham or the Republican leadership, but for those more discerning and not so definite. As he weakens his position, he becomes more reliant on the untrustworthy. The GOP is so unprincipled that it will say anything to prosper. And they will even try to fool a president who they believe might have some punch. Yet the first chance, Trump will have to watch his back.
Whatever good he attempted to do, Trump failed because of his lack of focus. He lost control of the political board, by underestimating his opponents and neglecting his friends. Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort and others were left to twist in the wind. As they used to say, better to stick to the one you first took to the dance.
But do not just blame Trump, as Reagan once remarked that “it took teamwork” to make a mess. By playing the politics of maneuver, GOP leaders denied Trump’s greatest talent –flexibility. They were way too sly for their own good.