100 Days of Not Normal

Trump hasn’t even been able to meet ridiculously low expectations for his presidency.

100 Days of Not Normal

(Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

By Peter Fenn | Opinion Contributor

April 25, 2017, at 4:00 p.m.

It is not really that hard. The bar is set absurdly low. You won an election you weren’t supposed to win. People really didn’t expect much, after all you never did anything like this before. The economy is humming along. Obama left you a pretty sweet deal, a lot better than he inherited eight years ago. All you had to do is stop tweeting, stop bragging and read from a teleprompter. The Congress should be able to do the heavy lifting.

But here we are, 100 days in. And according to the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, only 40 percent of Americans give you a positive rating, by far the worst for any president in modern history.

One lousy downer of an inaugural speech, plenty of tweets complete with misspellings and falsehoods, saber-rattling that has us perilously close to war and nothing on health care, taxes or jobs to show for all the sound and fury.

All we see is you at that little desk, signing fake, outrageous “executive orders” – photo op after photo op – pulling people into the White House like some sort of sale at Macy’s. Everything will be “great,” “the best,” “fantastic,” “trust me.”


The ‘American Carnage’ Speech

Trump’s inaugural address indicates that his presidency will be just like his campaign.

Meanwhile, you continue to do 180s on policy positions, including four in just one day: China and currency manipulation; NATO; the importance of the Export-Import Bank; and possibly reappointing Janet Yellen. I guess that should be considered good news. But the fundamental fact is that you don’t know what you are doing. You are presiding over the gang that couldn’t shoot straight, as the late Jimmy Breslin put it in his book of that title.

You don’t know beans about how to fix health care. You don’t understand foreign policy or assessing military options even though you “are smarter than the generals.” You have no clue about the effects of your budget proposals to eviscerate everything from medical research to food aid to housing for the poor to help for coal miners. Policy details seem to bore you; reading takes a back seat to watching cable news blab-fests; bluster beats boning up on issues. As you say, “sad,” or beyond sad, really – dangerous.

Your government is simply not working after 100 days. It is chaos, even more than Mr. Chaos, Steve Bannon, could ever have comprehended. This is a cross between “Family Feud” and “The Beverly Hillbillies.” You can’t run the government with a handful of sycophants as you did your real estate business. According to The Washington Post and the Partnership for Public Service, as of today, 470 of the 556 key positions in government requiring confirmation are not filled. Only 23 have been confirmed. This borders on malpractice.


The Apprentice President

Trump is proving the presidency is no place for on-the-job training.

And let’s not even talk about ethics or trips to Mar-a-Lago or Russia and the campaign or lawsuits. Let’s talk about the potential for very big mistakes: on Korea, on Syria, on Russia, on Iran, let alone removing 24 million Americans from health care rolls, gutting environmental protection, destroying civil and human rights.

The road we are on after these first 100 days is not normal, not under any circumstances reasonable or understandable, or for that matter, American. From all accounts, very little is likely to change in the next 100 days.

Maybe that is why 45 percent of Americans believe Donald Trump is off to a “poor start” while only 14 percent say a “great start,” according to the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. The number of Americans who will lose patience will only continue to grow, Republicans in Congress will abandon ship as November 2018 approaches and it will be apparent that despite controlling the presidency, Congress and the Supreme Court, Donald Trump will be incapable of passing any meaningful legislation.

Those who thought he had nowhere to go but up after the campaign must now confront the fact that despite low expectations, he is only making matters worse, for himself and the country.