Guy W. Farmer: No political honeymoon for President Trump
President Donald J. Trump has been in office for two days and he’s already fighting “Twitter” wars with Democrats, the news media, the CIA, and many of his fellow Republicans. That’s what undisciplined egomaniacs do, so Trump won’t enjoy the traditional “honeymoon” for newly inaugurated presidents. He has only himself to blame.
Nationally syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, a trained psychiatrist before he turned to journalism, last week wrote Trump’s “behavior is unlikely to change after the inauguration. It’s part of Trump’s character (and) nothing negative goes unanswered …” Krauthammer noted our new president’s “chronic indiscipline and his jumping from one subject to another without rhyme, reason or larger strategy. In a week packed with confirmation hearings and Russian hacking allegations, what was he doing meeting with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., an anti-vaccine activist pushing the thoroughly discredited idea that vaccines cause autism?” Not to mention his embarrassing (for everyone concerned) Twitter attacks against civil rights icon John Lewis and Academy Award-winning actress Meryl Streep.
I’m afraid this is what we’re in for over the next four years, and if this is how billionaire businessman Trump is going to conduct his presidency, count me among those who hope he doesn’t complete a full term in the White House. His crass behavior is beneath the dignity of someone who holds the highest office in the land, and functions as the de-facto leader of the Free World. If I was Reince Priebus or Kellyanne Conway (perish the thought!), I’d be trying to figure out how to disable the president’s Twitter account. Sorry to be so subversive, but Trump’s occasionally unhinged tweets call for drastic counter-measures.
When our president has time to mock Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “Apprentice” ratings, we’re in serious trouble. Trump should stop all of this Twitter nonsense and concentrate on keeping his campaign promises. Let’s see action on his vow to drain the political swamp in Washington and his promise to repeal and replace Obamacare with something better. I want to hear more about those issues and less about Hollywood celebrities.
“The vaccination issue was merely an exclamation point on the scatter-brained randomness of the Trump transition,” Krauthammer wrote. “Compare this to eight years ago and the near euphoria … at the swearing-in of Barack Obama” to begin what became “a failed presidency so bathed in optimism at its start.” I bought into some of that “hope and change” rhetoric in 2008, but soon realized ex-president Obama offered empty rhetoric rather than concrete actions to bring us together or to improve race relations. In fact, race relations were worse on Friday than when he moved into the White House eight years ago.
So are we in for back-to-back failed presidencies? Maybe so, unless President Trump changes his tune and gets serious about addressing the difficult and complex domestic and foreign challenges our nation faces. Fortunately, he has surrounded himself with some competent people and I’m hoping they’ll be able to focus the president’s attention on those challenges instead of on real and/or imagined insults flying around out there in the Twitterverse. Most of us could care less about that kind of trivia.
One recent newspaper headline asked the right question: “Can Trump’s Cabinet Save Him From Himself?” I hope the answer to that question is “Yes,” but I fear it’s “No” because our supremely self-confident president doesn’t listen to anyone else.
Trump should listen to Defense Secretary Gen. James “Mad Dog” Mattis on Russia-U.S. relations and to HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson on race relations, but I’m afraid he won’t, and that could lead to the downfall of his presidency.
Guy W. Farmer is the Appeal’s senior political columnist.