January 20th wasn’t that long ago. This is after all only June 1st. Yet it seems like a very long time since we had sane and rational leadership in this country. After the election, while we were shocked at the results, many of us rationalized that he would have to govern differently than he campaigned. Certainly he would begin to understand the tremendous burdens and responsibilities of leadership and grow into the job. We also assumed that he would surround himself with an experienced and Washington-wise staff that would guide him and perhaps temper his impulses. We simply didn’t want to believe that the Donald Trump that we watched on the campaign trail could possibly be the Donald Trump that would sit in the Oval Office and serve as our president. During the past four plus months we have been proven so wrong so many times. We must face the fact that our president is an amoral, immature, anti-intellectual, anti-science narcissist with a penchant for some of the most distasteful autocrats and dictators in the world today. These are our undeniable truths, and they have become our undeniable burdens.
It is how his behavior has translated into governance and foreign relations that is the burden we confront. Never has their been a president with such a dismal track record during the first four months in office. Not only has he no legislative accomplishments to point to, but even his Executive Orders have met with judicial opposition. He has an alarming list of vacancies throughout the Executive Branch impacting on every department. I should note that these vacancies are at the undersecretary and assistant secretary level, all key to managing the critical work of government. It is not that the Senate refuses to confirm his appointments, it is that he hasn’t presented the candidates to be confirmed. It is also an unfortunate fact that his cabinet secretaries and his White House staff are mostly relative novices when it comes to understanding and navigating the workings of our government. These realities clearly explain the failures this administration has experienced. However, when this is combined with a leader with a short attention span, a distaste for learning and an ego that requires that he be the smartest person in the room, it is clear that we are facing more than failure, we are facing disaster. The only areas this administration is excelling in are those that deregulate and remove protections that have been put in place to make us safer, healthier, economically more secure and protect our liberties. They have been outstanding at dismantling the “administrative state”.
In the world of international relations the Trump Administration has lived up to its campaign promises. They have alienated our allies and stretched a hand of conciliation towards our adversaries. During his recent international trip he did nothing to enhance our position or calm the nerves of our allies. In fact, Trump clumsily moved towards destabilizing those relationships while adhering to his positive slant vis-a vis Putin and Russia. The potential for disaster here has existential implications. Certainly, every president has the right, in fact the duty to reduce the level of tension with our adversaries. However, it is also his duty to maintain the strength of our alliances to protect us from those very adversaries. His behavior on the world stage has been troubling, inexplicable, dangerous and provocative. He has refused in-depth briefings and necessary preparation for meetings with heads of state and alliance meetings. We have an immature president with a short attention span, a lack of historic knowledge or perspective, no desire to learn and the need to be the center of attention. He has proven thus far that on the international stage he is a disaster.
The clouds that have hung over the heads of this administration regarding relations with Russia, inappropriate conflicts of interest, as well as attitudes towards the press and the judiciary only add to the already disastrous mix. The investigations underway will begin to spread paralysis throughout the White House as staff lawyer-up and move cautiously to protect themselves. This already inept, unprepared and unschooled presidency will become our burden.
There are two solutions to our dilemma. The first option is to pressure this president to resign through demonstrations, letters, etc. for the sake of our country and the world. I fear, however, that the only way this will happen is if the House votes in favor of Articles of Impeachment. In order to control the narrative rather than suffer the results of a conviction in the senate he would resign. The second opportunity is for us to make sure that the Republicans lose control of the House and Senate in the 2018 election. At least this way we can prevent more damage and repair the damage already done. We might even have a chance to vote for articles of impeachment. The task ahead is simple. We must focus on limiting the damage. We must fight all that endangers America and the world. If he succeeds America will fail. We owe it to all who come after us to prevent him from succeeding at failure.