The spectacular failure of Donald J. Trump

by Neil Rickert

Trump has been in office as president for barely one week.  Yet it is already overwhelmingly clear that this is a failed presidency.

Don’t get me wrong.  He is still president, and he can still do considerable damage to the nation.  But his presidency is a failure, nonetheless.  His campaign slogan was “make America great again.”  But it will be up to his successor to attempt to repair the damage that he has done and will continue to do.

A brief look back

In 2000, George W. Bush (“dubya”) became president with a narrow win and a disputed election.  Yet many of those who voted against him (self included) accepted that he was president.  For sure, they criticized him and his decisions.  But they still accepted him as president.

That has not happened with Trump.  I think many were ready to accept him as president, and give him the benefit of the doubt.  I certainly was ready.

But then it all went wrong.  He could not accept that his inaugural crowds were smaller than those for Obama.  He denied well established facts, and his spokespeople came out with “alternative facts”.  He could not accept that his election opponent received more popular votes than he, so he came out  with more alternative facts.

He is not king

Trump seems to think that he is king or emperor or CEO.  But he is merely president.  The constitution quite deliberately gives the president only very limited powers.  And this is part of why he is reacting badly to criticism.  He does not like, or understand, those limitations.

Trump complains that people are trying to delegitimize him as president.  And this, after he spent several years attempting to delegitimize president Obama.

He seems to not understand the role of the press.  He repeatedly attacks them, and says that they are presenting false facts, when all they are doing is attempting to correct the lies that he has himself told.  Our constitution recognized that the press could and should be a watchdog over the excesses of the three official branches of government.

Thank you, Americans

It is now clear that many Americans will stand up to this bully.  It is now clear that most of the free press will work to expose the excesses of Trump’s government.  It is now clear that many scientists will try to get the truth out, even if Trump gag orders force them to resort to non-standard channels.

So a big thank you to all of the Americans who are standing up for the principles that we find in the US constitution, and who will work to limit the damage that Trump can cause.

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