By Wayne Litke
How can a smart and well-educated man be so glaringly ignorant of reality that it is almost laughable? I asked myself that question last week after I learned about an interview President Donald Trump granted reporters employed by Reuters News Agency.
While discussing his first 100 days in office, Trump made a frank and startling admission. He noted that he loved his life as a billionaire and his work as a real estate mogul because he had “so many things going.” Comparing his former life to his duties as the U.S. president, he said, “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”
His honesty should be applauded, but his lack of understanding of responsibility as a national leader is a little disconcerting. Perhaps he never developed an ability to recognize or appreciate self-sacrifice and hard work due to an abundance of capital and influence. Did he actually think running a country and being the leader of a superpower would be less demanding than cutting financial deals and bossing subordinates around? His verbally intimidation if North Korea is a little frightening since its leader is also a crackpot bent on developing missiles that can successfully carry a nuclear warhead to anyone he dislikes.
I don’t pretend to understand how the man’s mind works, but it certainly revolves around his thoughts, ideas and opinions which he feels are important enough to share with everyone. Trump certainly does not mind bullying his neighbours to the north and south as he threatens to break trade agreements and slap big tariffs on imports to the U.S. market.
It appears to me as if he lives in his own world and expects everyone else to bow to his wishes. That may be how things worked in his business life, but it does not work well in world diplomacy. He makes things happen by effectively employing bravado, bluffing and bullying tactics. It appears like he has lived a life solely devoted to himself and his beliefs and is unable to empathize with others.
He told reporters he did not have much privacy in his “old life,” and was surprised at how little he now has as president since he is still adjusting to 24-hour protection and the restrictions that places on his actions.
“You’re really in your own little cocoon because you have such massive protection that you really can’t go anywhere,” he said in a Reuters’ news story. Again I ask, what did he think the job of president entails? It is a 24-hour job, seven days of the week. A world leader is always on call and true recreational breaks are few and far between. Everyone knows that, but it somehow came as a surprise to Donald.
Somehow his business deals and 14 seasons presiding over the television show The Apprentice did not prepare Trump for the presidency. Being a world leader is a very demanding job and he clearly was not mentally prepared for it according to his own admission.
There are fans and factions who feel he will rise to the challenge and be a good leader, but I am not convinced at this point. According to the Reuter’s news story, the president’s senior aides are resigned to the fact he often turns to business colleagues and friends outside the government for advice. Only time will tell if Trump will become more effective leader and that means being conciliatory when it is needed and unbending at the right moments. Considering his age and demeanor, it’s a fair bet he will not adjust his governing style or tactics and will plow ahead like a bull in a china shop.
I am not here to point out all the president’s problems and shortcomings – news agencies are doing a thorough job of that. However, from my perspective Trump’s mouth and the words of his press secretary and aides have done a fine job of sowing misinformation, errors and destruction in the short time he has been in power. When news media point out the errors, the president becomes defensive and fires back like a spoiled child.
Since the election campaign, he has publicly chastised news organizations and reporters for what he believes is biased reporting. Due to his ill feelings toward several news agencies, the president decided not to attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner last Saturday. I don’t think staying away and giving those nasty reporters the silent treatment hurt their feelings or taught them a lesson.
The one who needs the lesson is President Trump and he needs to learn that his tongue is a tool that is causing a lot of problems. It is helping set the stage for a showdown with North Korea. I ask myself why anyone – especially a U.S. president – would tease and poke a rabid dog. It seems to me that such idiocy occurs when a person cannot control his tongue or actions and feels it is his right to take action anywhere and anytime he sees fit.
On Sept. 11, 2001 the dog bit the States hard and it will bite again unless cooler heads and tongues prevail.