From ‘Record’ Crowds to Comey
Americans are realizing that Trump isn’t bringing the good kind of abnormal to the presidency.
By Peter Fenn | Opinion Contributor
May 12, 2017, at 4:30 p.m.
Folks, we are not yet 4 months into the Trump presidency and from day one, we have confronted the seriously abnormal. Make no mistake, many voters demanded a not-normal president. But they thought he would be not-normal good. It sure looks now like not-normal bad. Even many of his supporters are beginning to reassess, according to the latest Quinnipiac poll, released on May 10 and conducted before the Comey fiasco.
Trump’s approval rating has dropped 10 points among white voters without college educations in just one month. He has dropped 9 points among independents, who now give him a 29-percent approval rating. More devastating for Trump, 61 percent say he is not honest, 66 percent say he is not level headed and 64 percent say he doesn’t share their values.
The poll also asked respondents what single word best described Trump. The top three words were – get this – “idiot” at number one, “incompetent” at number two and “liar” at number three. Now that is very strong medicine for the president to take – akin to Castor Oil. The other words in the list were not much better.
As Tim Malloy, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, put it: “The erosion of white men, white voters without college degrees and independent voters, the declaration by voters that President Donald Trump’s first 100 days were mainly a failure and deepening concerns about Trump’s honesty, intelligence and level-headedness are red flags that the administration simply can’t brush away.”
Donald Trump is incapable of reasoned, rational, responsible decision-making. He does not play political chess, he does not think out his moves, anticipate his opponent’s possibilities, consider the ramifications of his actions. It is all queen to the center of the board.
Of course, it was clear from the beginning that he would be proved wrong on the crowd size at his inauguration. Yet he persisted and sent his spokespeople out there to make fools of themselves. Of course, he would have to back off on Mexico paying for the wall, or China as a currency manipulator, or NATO being obsolete. But now with his decision to fire James Comey, he has gone down the rabbit hole and got himself into such a twisted, ridiculous mess that he can’t extricate himself. In fact, he is dangerously close to obstructing an investigation – a crime – and fails to grasp that the tweets about the possibility of “tapes” of his conversations with Comey will cause him irreparable harm. He makes it so easy for others to call him out, to shine the light of day on his lies and absurdities. This is not normal. This is not presidential. This is not sustainable.
I have tried to think of something about Donald Trump’s presidency so far that I can agree with or support. At first, he talked about opioid abuse and I was pleased, but then it became clear that he was going to cut $364 million from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, effectively killing it, according to Rolling Stone magazine. Then I thought we might be headed to a serious effort to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure, maybe even fix and expand our high speed and metropolitan transportation systems. That now seems to be not just on the back burner, but removed from the stove. He talked about fixing the problems of the “decaying” inner cities but eviscerates the HUD budget. He campaigned on a non-interventionist foreign policy but now seems to be ready for expanding the war in Afghanistan, injecting America further in the Middle East conflicts and stumbling into a devastating exchange on the Korean peninsula.
Trump hasn’t even been able to meet ridiculously low expectations for his presidency.
Honestly, I really would like to find a modicum of agreement on something Donald Trump is planning on doing – is there anything serious on early childhood education, or affordable day care for working families, or making it easier to send our kids to college or engaging in job training? Would he consider a bill to create a program for national service for young adults? Would he get behind efforts to increase voter participation instead of announcing a commission on voter fraud, which he knows does not exist?
I wonder whether Trump cares about issues or solving problems or engaging beyond petty arguments. The Comey fiasco shows that what he cared about in his breaking bread with the former director was loyalty. Comey’s pledge of honesty with Trump didn’t cut it – he wanted more. Donald Trump’s reliance on “alternative facts,” fake news, false claims all are designed to feed his narcissism and dictatorial tendencies. This has all the earmarks of an abnormal presidency gone bad, a dysfunction that grows every day and a man without the internal fortitude or moral compass to govern effectively in a democracy. In the end, it is not all about him, it is all about us. My sense is that most Americans, many who supported him, are beginning to figure that out.