3 Ways Trump is Failing at His Job and Disgracing the Office of President
No Previous President Has Been This Unpresidential
When I was a kid, before I formulated opinions about politics and just thought presidents were cool, I wrote letter upon letter to Ronald Reagan concerning POW/MIAs that many thought were still in Vietnam. I was fascinated by the letters I received from the White House—embossed, starched white envelopes, a robo-signature of The Gipper added for realism. As a 5th grader, I was moved. As years went on, I held similar views of presidents both Republican and Democrat. Each possessed some sort of quality, a sheen of sorts that elevated them, just a tiny bit, perhaps, above the citizenry. Presidential mythos distinguished the President of the United States as something more. Like the American Flag, our president was the embodiment of our greater selves. I saw it in both Bushes, though I disagreed with much of their policy. I saw it in Bill Clinton even though, well, you know. I even saw it in the fictional President Josiah Bartlet from television’s The West Wing.
When I visited Washington D.C. in the summer of 1987, I was 15 years old. I was quietly in awe of the elegance and enigma of the White House, the Capitol Building and the Washington Mall. The gravitas of that city’s importance was palpable. On January 20th, 2017, however, something changed. It’s as if the mystique of Washington D.C, the radiance of it, had died. American government is a little more drab now, a little more gray. President Trump is not what presidents are made of.
I don’t say this lightly. I may have partisan views on policies but I am a bipartisan admirer of presidential character. This goes beyond #NotMyPresident or #NeverTrump. This speaks to the very heart and soul of what it means to be president of this country. The American President is the embodiment of our better angels, the example of American stewardship. He is the mayor of that “Shining City on The Hill” that Reagan talked about.
But that intangible “something more” is in absentia from our current commander-in-chief. Like someone who wants to be an entertainer buys dark sunglasses to look cool, so too does President Trump wield the powers of the presidency like a costume. He’s our first CosPlay president.
In his first 100 days President Trump has:
- flexed American military muscle for the sake of flexing muscle. An al Qaida raid in Yemen killed Navy SEAL Ryan Owens and missed al-Qaida target Quasim al-Rimi, a top commander for AQAP (al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula)
- bombed a Syrian air base in apparent retaliation for Syrian gas attacks on civilians after alerting Russians (and by default, Syrian forces loyal to regime tyrant Bashar al- Assad). The attack was seen as more military grandstanding. In less than 24 hours the base was launching planes to carry out more air strikes
- attempted to enact a Muslim travel ban which was shot down in Federal court–twice.
It’s hard to imagine that history will look favorably upon President Trump and that’s a shameful fact to face. Our country should be led by men and women eager to exemplify those qualities we hold in highest regard. As far as that Shining City on the Hill? President Trump doesn’t deserve to be dog catcher.
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images
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