If one believes the feverish Evan McMullin’s Twitter feed as God’s own truth, Donald Trump is Vlad Putin’s foot soldier and an evil, evil, EVIL man about to ruin the world, the country, and rend the fabric of nature itself. That may yet happen.
In the meantime, there are whispers in polite society that President Donald J. Trump is doing decently. This acknowledgement is usually coupled with a mystified shoulder shrug and multiple caveats and stipulations.
What is turning the Trump frowns upside down?
First off, President Trump’s style of foreign policy has lots to speak for it. Keeping foreign governments on their toes and off-balance is a nice change from telegraphing every plan and allowing world powers to outflank the United States in advance of the actions. To say that President Trump has everyone’s attention is an understatement. A strategic strike here. A M.O.A.B. there. A Navy here and there and everywhere. It’s unnerving — for the enemy.
I keep reading pieces about how Republicans are hypocrites for not supporting President Obama when he proposed striking Syria. Rational people were against it. It wasn’t the bombing, per se, it was who was doing the bombing. President Obama showed little strategic foreign policy coherence. His rules of engagement were an abomination. American troops were hamstrung and it left them vulnerable. So many Americans lost lives — twice that as under Bush. In addition, President Obama presided over a military leadership purge. So why in the world would anyone with sense trust President Obama and his yes-men to bomb Syria? That was and is a dodgy operation and must be backed by strategic resolve. One has to be willing to do it again. Not trusting the President to back politically difficult operations most certainly caused unease. President Trump is a change. He trusts his Generals and they trust him to back them up. He’s letting them do what they’re built for: win wars, not just spin their submarine engines.
Second, President Trump did what he promised: put up a solid Supreme Court Justice replacement. Justice Gorsuch has jumped into the role with both feet, peppering the lawyers presenting to him with questions:
The first case out of the gate for Gorsuch was not a blockbuster, but the justice repeatedly pressed lawyers from both sides with his positions.
When one attorney admitted he tended to agree with the justice on one point, Gorsuch dryly replied, “I hope so.”
Salty! Thanks, President Trump!
Third, and this is surprising, President Trump seems genuinely humbled by the job — mentioning God and asking for guidance. From Politico:
President Donald Trump has increasingly infused references to God into his prepared remarks — calling on God to bless all the world after launching strikes in Syria, asking God to bless the newest Supreme Court justice, invoking the Lord to argue in favor of a war on opioids.
He’s also taken other steps to further cultivate a Christian right that helped elect him, granting new levels of access to Christian media and pushing socially conservative positions that don’t appear to come naturally to him.
One of the first interviews Trump sat for as president was with the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody.
“I’ve always felt the need to pray,” Trump said in that late-January interview. “The office is so powerful that you need God even more because your decisions are no longer, ‘Gee I’m going to build a building in New York.’ … These are questions of massive, life-and-death.”
“There’s almost not a decision that you make when you’re sitting in this position that isn’t a really life-altering position,” Trump added. “So God comes into it even more so.”
Lefties and cynical Evan McMullin voters snort that we’re just seeing political expedience. Maybe so, but more than once, President Trump seemed overwhelmed by the weight of the office. Perhaps he’s encountered something bigger than himself and is humbled.
Fourth, pushing deregulation will pay off business dividends now and in the future. For being a New York politician, as Ted Cruz called him, President Trump’s deregulatory push certainly is libertarian. Businesses are happy. More needs to be done and R Street is right about the REIN’s act, but rolling back the crushing rules constricting business is a start.
Fifth, President Trump is presidential. Big whup, right? He should be presidential. So many thought he’d be a chattering caricature throughout his presidency. Lots of folks think that’s still true, but honest politics watchers are seeing Donald Trump come into his own.
Sixth, President Trump works to keep his promises. Everybody has a plan until they’re punched in the mouth, says the sage-boxer Mike Tyson. And there’ve been plenty of punches and disappointments already — the Obamacare embarrassment comes to mind. However, President Trump has been surprisingly consistent. For those, including this writer, who had zero expectations outside the conservative Supreme Court seat, every other policy win is gravy. There’s been more gravy than I expected. [Planned Parenthood defunding comes to mind.]
Finally, it must be noted what President Trump is not: He is not Hillary Clinton. With a President Hillary there’d have been an ever-empowered state, calcified, entrenched, soul-deadening, life-sucking state. It’s difficult to imagine a foreign policy where she’d be respected after her groveling and haphazard tenure as Secretary of State. America dodged a bullet when she dodged Hillary Clinton.
All in all, the first 90 days have exceeded modest expectations. That’s better than destroying them and crushing dreams. It’s okay to admit it unless your name is Evan McMullin. Everyone else, though, can take a moment and admit that President Donald Trump is better than imagined and might even turn out to be a decent president.
So far, so good and that’s good enough.
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