According to some media Donald Trump became US President at least two times, depending on the pundits’ criteria: the first time when he succeeded in reading a relatively short speech to Congress off the teleprompter without ad-libbing and making major mistakes, and the second time when he took credit for attacking a Syrian airport with Tomahawk missiles. Although there is ample competition, these are some of the dumbest statements made since Trump moved into the White House, because if anything, Trump has become less of a president during the now almost first hundred days of his presidency. He has delegated all military decisions to ‘his’ generals, almost all foreign and domestic policy to his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Angela Merkel to his daughter Ivanka, Korea to Mike Pence, and the Easter egg roll to Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, who are trying to get Sean Spicer to resume the role of Easter Bunny he played during Dubya’s administration. In the meantime the president is playing a lot of golf, now in total eighteen times, every time inappropriately advertising one of his own courses.
It should not have been surprising. Long before the election it was obvious that Trump is a pathological narcissist who spent his whole life making, and occasionally losing, money in often shady ways, and who was woefully unprepared for the presidency, both intellectually and attitudinally. After the failures of his Muslim ban and the American Health Care Act, and with only one minor achievement in the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court – for which the credit really goes to Mitch McConnell – the air has slowly been leaking out of Trump’s tires. Instead of the bluster of his campaign language he is now down to barely more than a whisper when he says that China is not a currency manipulator, the NATO is not obsolete, and the military has ‘full authorization’ to commit any acts of war it considers appropriate. It is an interesting psychological case study to see someone who believes he’s omnipotent and perfect confronted with his own blatant inadequacies, which he cannot recognize and therefore not compensate for, other than by escaping his responsibilities and distributing blame to others.
This morning the New York Times published an editorial that lists fifteen issues on which Trump has had ’10-Second Convictions,’ ranging from Syria to the Import-Export Bank, with Russia, NATO, China and NAFTA in between. In his few introspective moments the president likes to talk about himself as a ‘very flexible person,’ but in reality he’s like a scared rabbit caught in the headlights that doesn’t know where to run and nervously jumps back and forth, left and right.
Unfortunately all the flip-flopping doesn’t imply that nothing gets done. Trump has put cabinet secretaries in place who are dead set on abandoning sane environmental policies, destroying public education, eliminating students’ rights, and, most recently, start a review process that will result in the termination of ‘Consent Decrees’ aimed at improving police-community relations.
In the meantime the president plays golf. I have long been convinced that most corporate executives play golf because on the golf course they have bigger problems than at work, but not Trump. He plays golf to get away from problems on the job he has no clue how to handle.