Guy W. Farmer: A dysfunctional presidency
March 10, 2018
Following is a commentary on the Trump White House by Peter Wehner, a senior policy adviser who worked for three Republican presidents:
"The Trump presidency is engulfed in chaos. The policy process is broken and incoherent with the White House lurching from one policy position to another. Factions are warring. Top aides are embroiled in scandal and bailing out. President Trump is escalating his attacks on his own advisers, especially his attorney general, and is increasingly isolated and embittered."
Had enough? Me too! In fact, my own "me too" movement is the hope Trump won't serve a full four-year term in the White House. If he manages to alienate enough fellow Republicans by November, when midterm elections take place, the next Congress — probably controlled by Trump-hating Democrats — could impeach the president and convict him of "high crimes and misdemeanors."
I know that's a rather dire prediction, but I agree with the aforementioned Wehner, who concluded "while President Trump is popular with Republicans … for most of the rest of the country, he's toxic." The fact is Wehner speaks for many moderate Republicans and independent voters like your favorite Appeal columnist.
My problem is while I like many of Trump's policies and programs — including lower taxes, smaller government and enforcement of our federal drug and immigration laws — I think he's a rude, crude, egomaniacal bully who suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). No matter the issue or policy under discussion, it's all about him, which diminishes the presidency and creates constant turmoil in our political process.
For example, shortly after Congress passed Trump's tax reform package, which will help many middle class taxpayers, the president got into a public Twitter fight with actor Alec Baldwin, who portrays Trump as a rude, crude bully on "Saturday Night Live," and found himself enmeshed in an unsavory sex scandal involving porn star Stormy Daniels, who alleged she had an affair with the president while his wife, Melania, was pregnant with their first child. No wonder Melania almost never holds hands with her husband in public. Obviously, Trump is a sexual predator like several of his predecessors including notorious womanizers John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton.
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The Washington Post concurs with Wehner's assessment of a chaotic, dysfunctional White House. Three Post political writers described "an air of anxiety and volatility" in the White House "with an uncontrollable commander-in-chief at its center." Ouch! According to the Post, "These are the darkest days in at least half a year" and, as one official put it, "We haven't bottomed out yet," which is ominous.
Contributing to continuing White House chaos are the recent resignations of two of Trump's closest and most trusted advisers, former Communications Director Hope Hicks and outgoing Chief Economic Adviser Gary Cohn, who argued unsuccessfully against Trump's decision to impose punitive tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum imports, thereby rejecting traditional Republican free trade policies. While Ms. Hicks and Cohn were abandoning a sinking ship, Trump was attacking three of his top advisers — White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Attorney General Jeff Sessions — in intemperate and insulting "tweetstorms."
All of this White House chaos and presidential misconduct are hurting moderate GOP candidates around the country including two Carson City Republicans, Sen. Dean Heller and Congressman Mark Amodei, who face daunting primary election battles this year against perennial right-wing losers Danny Tarkanian and Sharron Angle, respectively. If Tarkanian and/or Angle finally win, however, Democrats will pick up those seats in Congress. Help! And that's my opinion for what it's worth, if anything.
Guy W. Farmer, a retired diplomat, is the Appeal's senior political columnist.