It’s tough having a president who’s ready, at the drop of a hat, to throw the country under the bus. President Trump likes to say that he will put America first, but he has a strange way of showing it.
For decades, the United States lead the world economically, militarily and morally. Sometimes we did some extremely bad things and we’ve made our share of mistakes, but most of the world knew where we stood and we remained a place that other people wanted to come to, and they were generally welcomed.
Not any more.
By supposedly putting America first, the president has done great damage to our reputation and what we stand for. When the Russians clearly tried to influence the 2016 election, the president never spoke out about foreign interference, and instead worried obsessively about how it would make him, and only him, look bad.
Now we find that the president, perhaps the most gullible man in the political world, believes Vladimir Putin when he said that Russia did not interfere with the election. And he’s siding with the Russian leader over his own CIA and members of Congress from both parties.
You know, Americans.
How did Trump come to this conclusion? By asking Putin if his country interfered, of course. Isn’t that what international power politics is all about? Everyone tells the truth, right?
As Bugs would say, “What a maroon.”
The president’s trip to Asia was also a me-first excursion as the president essentially said that he, and only he, knew what America’s best interests were and that he was going to make sure that any future deals benefited this country. He’s already shown the folly of that statement by withdrawing us from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris Climate Accords. Both of those agreements would have enabled the United States to have major influence over trade, intellectual property laws, and economic policies that would help guide the world toward a more environmentally responsible future. We’ve now lost a good deal of that influence and China has immediately stepped into that power vacuum and is ready to fill it, as President Xi said in his remarks immediately after Trump finished speaking on Friday.
And what did our president say to that? He essentially threw every previous president under his smog-belching bus by saying that America’s past leaders were to blame for our terrible trade deals. We can certainly blame previous leaders for today’s problems, but the rule is that you defend your own in public while excoriating them in private. For Trump, though, there is only one person he will protect: himself.
But the president is not only hurting America abroad. His support of the health care repeal that would throw about 20 million people off their health insurance was reprehensible. And his support of a tax bill that would raise taxes on millions of people in the middle class while allowing hedge fund managers to continue to pay a lower rate on their incomes, and for other wealthy people and corporations to get a huge cut is immoral. The president would also benefit immensely from this tax bill, but since he won’t release his tax returns, we don’t know by how much.
The real evidence, though, is that the president is not putting America first because he continues to deliberately divide this country. He’s made no real effort to include his opponents or those who voted against him. He’s content to throw twitter bombs and to blame everyone else (women, immigrants, Muslims, Democrats, NFL players) for our problems without recognizing that he is the president of all the people.
Effective presidents are ones who recognize that they might not bring their opponents over to their side, but that for the greater good of the country, they need to make an effort at unity and conciliation. I have little hope that President Trump will do this because his first priority is himself. Not the country, and certainly not anyone who deigns to point out when he is wrong, or illustrates his disdain for, and lack of understanding of, our constitution.
We will always be second.