A candidate for the office of president spends a year, sometimes longer, on the campaign trail. His or her sole goal is to make people like them, make people trust them, convince people to vote for them, believing that they are the person who will most nearly meet the voters’ needs and desires over the course of four years. Then comes election night, and one of the people who spent all that time on the campaign trail is successful in his or her mission and goes on to take the oath of office in two-and-a-half months. That period of time is a period of transition from being a candidate to learning to be a leader, from having a goal of winning the election to having a goal of doing the best job possible to keep the country and its people safe and prosperous. During that transition period, the former candidate puts all the hoopla and razzmatazz of the campaign trail behind him and switches gears to the more serious topics of running a nation. He will meet with the outgoing president on a near-daily basis, meet with advisors whose expertise is critical to the job he is about to begin. It is a training period. He is now busy trying to gain an understanding of how global economies work, the relations we have with other nations, how the president interacts with the other two branches. And he is busy selecting his own cabinet and advisors from among the most skilled and knowledgeable people.
That is how it is supposed to work. That is how it has most always worked. But it is not how it worked after the last election.
It began with the intelligence briefings. A team of intelligence analysts has been prepared to deliver daily briefings on global developments and security threats. In the first two weeks, Trump attended only two of the daily briefings, though Mike Pence did attend most. With no knowledge of national security issues, most were stunned that Trump apparently had no intention of gaining such knowledge, either.
Then, Trump’s transition team copied highly sensitive documents and removed them from a secure facility during the presidential transition. A definite ‘no-no’. And then, his transition team, days before the inauguration, nixed plans for an orientation class that would have prepared political appointees and White House staff for a series of ethical and legal issues. Ethics, shmethics, right? Who needs it, right?
So, with that sort of a start, is it any wonder that the president and his staff are bumbling about? But what has prompted this diatribe is that Donald Trump, nearly 14 months after taking that oath of office, has still not stepped up to the plate of doing the job for which he was elected, for he is still too damned busy campaigning for the 2020 election which, if justice prevails, will not see his name on the ballot!
During Trump’s lonnnnnnng (29 months) 2015-2016 campaign, he made a number of promises to his supporters, those who were caught up in his promises to “drain the swamp” in Washington, to “make America great again”, and above all, to keep America and Americans ‘safe’ from those terrible immigrants: the Mexicans who were rapists and criminals, and most of all, the Muslims, all of whom must surely be terrorists! Among his other promises were to bring back jobs in the coal and steel industries.
Now, Donald doesn’t know coal from a can of peas, and he didn’t bother to learn about fossil fuels vs alternative energy sources, because if he had, perhaps he might not have been so quick to promise. But promise he did, and by jove he is going to keep that promise even if it destroys portions of the country. And now the latest promise he is trying to knock out is bringing back jobs in the steel industry. Oh Woe.
His m.o. here is to impose unreasonably high tariffs on steel imports from every nation on the globe. I already explained in an earlier post what the almost-certain ramifications are going to be, so I will not waste your time with a reiteration, for it is not my point today. My point today is that Trump has been advised by numerous advisors who understand far more than he about the global economic fallout of these tariffs, not to do it. Gary Cohn, who was Trump’s Chief Economic Advisor, resigned this week because Trump was so determined to follow this destructive path. Although I am not a huge fan of Cohn, he was the Director of the National Economic Council, and he has the knowledge and the experience that Trump clearly lacks. So why won’t Trump listen to any of his qualified advisors? Because he is not operating in the capacity of president, but instead he is campaigning for the 2020 election.
From an article in Politico :
“[Trump] sees steelworkers and other “forgotten men and women” in rural parts of the country, as he often calls them, as the core part of his political base, and he believes that betraying them would be political suicide as he looks ahead to his reelection campaign, according to aides.”
And when you think about that, and look back on the things he has done, you realize that every single move has been naught but an extension of his campaign. This nation has no president. I have often referred to the United States under Trump as a rudderless ship, and now it is more clear than ever that is precisely what we are … rudderless, without direction, and without a captain, for the captain is too busy trying to make friends with the sharks and he doesn’t know how to sail the ship anyway.