By Jason Taylor
The phrase “unbecoming a president” works on so many levels. It sounds like the title of a future book chronicling the aftermath of the disastrous incoming administration (assuming, of course, that there is a future). It also sums up the way the new president will befoul the legacy of Barack Obama, replacing poise, wit, and wisdom with vulgarity, vileness, and ignorance.
The president’s cabinet is being stuffed with deplorables of the highest order. White supremacists sit at his right hand. Just when you think the depths have been plumbed, Ben Carson stumbles into head HUD. Then Rick Perry, looking ever so smart in his Leonard Hofstadter glasses, is appointed to head an agency he once promised to shut down — or at least he would have if he’d been able to remember it.
The environment will be ably protected by a man who denies climate change, and sneers at EPA regulations. At Commerce and Treasury, billionaires will look out for the little guy.
These choices appear to be intentionally perverse, requiring massive apologetics from spokes-mantis Kellyanne Conway. She never tires of telling us how much whiter the new Alt-White House will be than the old one.
The new president, uninterested in daily security briefings and likely frustrated by all the big words, will pursue a simple strategy of destabilizing world economies, insulting China and traipsing through a field of lilies holding hands with Putin.
Past presidents have not made the fatal mistake of confusing or conflating themselves with our nation. They understood that election is an honor, a high trust, and an opportunity to lead our nation for the common good. Despite the outsized egos required to seek and attain the presidency, they were humbled by its power and its limitations. They spoke in measured, informed and responsible voice for America and knew they were not singularly America.
Trump is a radical departure from this norm. He was and remains the successful silver-spoon boyish rogue who accepts no constraints. He has never been humble and has always sought increased power. Despite his words, he is clearly amoral and opportunistic. He has always acted to benefit himself and his children.
We know Trump has an attention span limited to 140 characters. We know the foulness of his personality, described in his own words. We know that his “win” is illegitimate, enabled by his pal Putin. We know by his cabinet picks that he has absolutely no intention of doing right by the people who elected him and that he has no understanding of or interest in a fragile world order. And we know that it’s a fantasy to think he will tell Putin “I am not your chump”.
So stop it. Trump has no legitimacy, don’t give him any. None.
Unless the Electoral college comes to its senses and gets rid of him on Dec. 19 (hey, I can fantasize too), the only hope now is to remove his spineless enablers in Congress in 2018 and put responsible representatives in place to stymie his every dangerous move.
Trump is acting as though he has just gained majority ownership of a company. His actions suggest that he believes he has unilateral control and can bring in anyone he wants to head up its divisions. He’s just starting the management shake-up.
He seems to be a top-down, get-in-line executive who is not willing to hear alternative views and is willing to take ill-prepared steps because he’s following his instincts. While it has gotten him the White House, governing is a very different reality than campaigning. There will be resistance, some even from Republicans to Trump’s choices now and to his actions later. It will be loud. Will it be enough?