I want to give the President the benefit of the doubt. I wrote last week that if the rest of his tenure goes like the first week, I would support him in 2020. He has kept many of his promises. He has surrounded himself with a solid cabinet. He is setting up the Supreme Court for a generation of sound jurisprudence. He is showing attempted diligence in his job. His nomination speech of Neil Gorsuch showed us a new President slowly settling into his role. The weight of responsibility is starting to settle on his shoulders, and I can only hope Americans spend more time praying for him than protesting him. It had to be an overwhelming experience for him to go to Dover yesterday to meet the family of the first soldier killed on his watch.
But as more stories come out about the ongoing antics behind the scenes in the White House and his calls with foreign leaders, I think we need to be honest that this is not a sustainable situation on its present trajectory.
Republicans and Trump supporters spent the last eight years bitching about Barack Obama’s treatment of allies. Then President Trump yells at Malcolm Turnbull, one of our staunchest allies. My first guess was that someone told the President that Prime Minister Turnbull represents the Liberal Party and they forgot to tell him that means the conservatives in Australia. Honestly, that is the simplest explanation for our President’s treatment of Australia’s Prime Minister. Let’s not get started on his call with the Mexican President. His saving grace on that call is that the American press blew it all out of proportion.
Much of what we hear on daily news reports is exaggerated and designed to put the President in the worst possible light. There are clearly people working under the President both in the White House and in executive departments who are relentlessly committed to undermining him. But the President seems to be his own worst enemy.
It does the GOP no good to spend so long bashing President Obama for his treatment of allies only to have the next Republican President do the same. It does no good for the GOP to spend eight years complaining that Barack Obama behaved like a king only to have the next Republican President act like he is unaccountable.
President Trump needs to start listening to the grownups in the room and stop listening to his merry band of formerly bullied kids who are now out for vengeance on all those who bullied them. The President’s staff undercut him and left him in a terrible and indefensible position by removing green card protections from an otherwise sound executive order on immigration. If the President and his administration choose to be graceless, the public will reciprocate. Midterm elections are about base turnout. It is already a great unknown if Donald Trump’s base will turn out for anyone but him. Barack Obama’s never did.
The Democrats will turn out and what we see right now is a President not temperamentally suited for a congress of his own party. God help him, and us, if he finds himself with a Congress that really is hostile to him.
The President and his administration, if they cannot discern who their true friends and allies are, will find themselves with none. And abusing friends and allies will only escalate their departure. This is not a sustainable situation.