Tired of all the ‘winning’ yet?

It took me a couple of days before I could begin to absorb the fact that President Trump, in one day:

  • Rewrote the history of the Civil War
  • Invited to the White House the leader of a country who has overseen the murder of 7,000 of his citizens for allegedly being involved in the drug trade without arrest or trial
  • Said he’d be “honored” to meet with the leader of North Korea who is literally getting the U.S. in his nuclear sights
  • Lied about covering those with pre-existing conditions in his Obamacare replacement
  • Delivered what may be the most offensive, revolting, dishonest and un-presidential speech a President has ever given to conclude his first 100 days in office, complete with his calls to “get him outta here” when a protestor tried to interrupt him. That from the leader of the most open country the face of the earth has even seen
  • Childishly dissing and dismissing from the Oval Office a major network and widely acknowledged as decent and fair newsman — John Dickerson of CBS — for having the audacity to press him on an issue Trump himself raised in the interview (his phony claim of President Obama wiretapping his campaign headquarters)
  • His administration raising, again, that they are looking into changing the libel laws so the President can more easily sue news outlets who produce stories he doesn’t like

If I’m omitting anything, apologies. All of the above was within about 24 hours of real time and I’m having so much trouble absorbing each one individually that as a group they are more mind-bending than those drugs my generation experimented with in the 60s.

These meetings he says he’d have are with: the Philippine leader who received an official verbal invite from Trump that the Filipino despot now says he might be too busy to accept; and with North Korea’s power-hungry, blood thirsty dictator Kim Jong Un — who had his half-brother killed in fears he might lead a revolt against him in addition to having many others murdered to protect his reign.

Riddle me this: Did you ever think you’d see the leader of the Philippines blow off a White House invite proffered directly by the President? Rodrigo Duterte, wins either way: he blows it off and shows he doesn’t need the United States or he accepts and is greeted as a legitimate leader by the President of the United States.

And now Trump is praising China’s president who leads a country Trump had marked as America’s public enemy number one on trade during his campaign. China, he told us again and again, is “raping” us. Now he says the Chinese leader “likes” him and he “likes” the Chinese leader, as if serving as President of the United States is the same as collecting as many “likes” as you can on Facebook.

Trump may, to give him as much rein as possible, believe that his overtures to these (and other) despots are a new way to gain leverage in world affairs but it has the opposite effect on the world stage, with some friends of ours slow walking away from the U.S. as its leader.

This is a far cry from the policy of the Reagan Administration which was that no meeting, at any level, be held with a Russian official without bringing up specific names of political prisoners Russia was holding and demanding their release. This was done to protest Russia’s anti-human rights practices and done without fanfare to try to assure results were achieved.

Now 102 days into the Trump presidency, we see him asking to meet with leaders of countries with the worst human rights records on earth. Despots seem to be his preferred allies and our allies seem to be his preferred targets to attack. The world truly is upside down, at least the world according to Trump.

The speech he gave Saturday night was the same he would give on the campaign trail when it seemed his chances of winning the election were slim to nil so he had nothing to lose. It was a speech aimed at a slice of the population, not the entire country that he now “leads.” He did nothing in that speech to bring the country together, the political parties together or even outline to his “base” why they might need to move toward the middle on some issues as much as the “other side” needs to meet them there. Another promise he made was to bring the country together, not push us further apart.

His supporters still have not seen a sign of all the “winning” their candidate promised. His self-acclaimed negotiating prowess turns out to be as big as his hands. He has won nothing so far, other than getting a Supreme Court nominee approved (with an assist from the Senate changing its rules to make it possible) and sown chaos in the small territory that should be his to control fully — the White House compound.

He caved on NAFTA, he caved on his budget demands, he joined those waving the white flag on Obamacare repeal-and-replace and after having derided President Obama for governing by Executive Order, Trump now treats his signing of such orders on the order of signing major legislation, more a photo opp than a governing opp, replete with handing out the “historic pens”. Now, personally, I’m pleased he’s caved on most of those but then again, I didn’t vote for his promises.

I get how his “base” bought into him because they were tired of the same ol’, same ol’ in Washington and there was no way Hillary Clinton would drain that swamp. He holds tight to polls that show he has not lost any of his base (40–45 percent of the country). But I ask those who voted for him to honestly assess his time in office. Not based on what legislation he’s gotten passed, not based on the pride U.S. citizens should have in their president but on these question that are fully in his power and not subject to opposition. Until his base starts to peel off, he will not change his methods. So consider these basic questions:

  • Who he has appointed to Cabinet posts. Many of them are heading departments they want to abolish
  • How he has not kept out of his administration, as promised, those dreaded Washington lobbyists (many waivers have been given to allow them to serve)
  • How he has about-faced on his attacks on big business leaders and now has almost more of them in his Cabinet than still reside on Wall Street
  • How many promises he has backed away from

I mean, really, are you tired — or even a bit wary — of so much winning already?

Written by

Former deputy White House press secretary (Reagan and Bush 41) and former head of communications at Republican Natl Committee. My blog: bjaycooper.com.

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