2017-06-16 / View From Here

THE VIEW FROM HERE

Some thoughts on President Trump
BY BOB MORGAN, JR.

I’ve tried to avoid making this column all Trump, all the time. But I will weigh in with a few thoughts about the President.

If the only criteria for judging a president were temperament, President Trump is not the ideal man for the job. For example, on the day this is written, Mr. Trump held a cabinet meeting whose principal purpose seemed to be extracting praise for the President from each of the assembled secretaries. Then the President claimed, rather ridiculously, that he had one of the best records of legislative and other achievement. He’s only a signed tax and health care bill away from backing up that boast. And we can quickly discuss contentious twitters and unnecessary public feuds with celebrities. We also have certainly had presidents with a much clearer grasp of politics and policy.

This is partly the price we pay for a president with no political experience, with a career in real estate negotiation. The bluster and taking liberties with the truth that works well for the head of a closely held corporation does not translate to the White House. Mr. Trump is now 70 years old and is unlikely to change his ways, even if he limits his tweets a little. Nor is he ever going to take time to study policy and issues thoroughly What you see with Mr. Trump is what you get.

On the other hand, Mr. Trump’s left wing opposition, stung by their loss of power in Washington, are using his unorthodox personality as a lever to weaken and destabilize his presidency and the implementation of his programs. Even when Mr. Trump is relatively adroit, as he was during his recent overseas trip, he gets virtually no credit. I strongly suspect that if Mike Pence ever got to be President, the noise level would only abate for a month or two, before there would be new set of loud outcries about some alleged new scandal.

The voters knew of Mr. Trump’s personal quirks. There were major examples during the campaign, from anatomical references in the debates, to the Access Hollywood tape, to lesser issues like a dispute with Miss Venezuela. Indeed, Hillary Clinton attempted to disqualify Mr. Trump at the debates and in her commercials on personal shortcomings (indeed she probably overdid this theme), but enough voters simply were not persuaded.

Now there is an attempt to lay the foundation for impeachment by claiming that Mr. Trump is guilty of criminal acts.

There has been a constant drumbeat by his opponents that Mr. Trump campaign colluded with Russian operatives to hack the election. It is entirely possible, although not completely proven, that the Russians favored Mr. Trump and may have facilitated computer hacking of Democrats like John Podesta that ended up on Wikileaks. Mr. Podesta’s documents did not contain any real smoking guns.

Nevertheless, no evidence has yet emerged of actual collusion between the Russians and Mr. Trump or senior aides. With all the leaks that have come out, it is a good guess that such evidence does not exist. Mr. Trump’s opponents are now attempting to make a case for obstruction of justice, but there are many legal experts like Alan Dershowitz who think that this is simply not a credible theory on the information that has come out so far.

It is entirely possible that Americans could have elected a better President than Donald Trump. Nevertheless, many voters wanted significant change from the slow economic growth and wage stagnation of the Obama years and believed Mr. Trump was a better alternative than Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump very likely will be our President until at least January 20, 2021 (even if impeached, he will not be removed by the Senate). Most people away from Washington would prefer if the emphasis in our nation’s capital were on the day to day issues affecting the economy and their daily lives rather than the “gotcha” political circus.

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