Will Trump Be Presidential?

Bill Neinast


It is still possible but probably very unlikely.  After Donald Trump is inaugurated Friday, he might start acting presidential.  In two short days, we will know.

Almost a year ago, on Feruary 22, the opening paragraph of this column was, “This is a simple trivia question.  Which of these words do not apply to Donald Trump?  Juvenile, bully, narcissistic, buffoon, arrogant, petulant, untrustworthy, chameleon,  aggressive, verbose, argumentative,  thin skinned, hard headed, hypocritical, vacillator, scowler.”

This was the beginning of the presidential primaries and most thought Trump was just out for a lark.  Much to the surprise of most, he swept the Republican primaries.  Then the thoughts were that Ma Clinton would slaughter him in the general election.

Facts, however, often turn assumptions on their heads and that is what happened here.  Clinton, sometimes referred to as the most brilliant politician in the country, ran an abysmally poor campaign.

She apparently thought, as did many others, that Trump was just one of those ogres mentioned above.  Unquestionably, his bombastic campaign appearance justified that belief.

Throughout the campaign a common belief was that this was just Trump’s style.  If he is ever elected, his demeanor will change.

Then came his press conference last Wednesday.   Shortly after that conference, Trump hit the air waves with Tweets criticizing CIA Director John Brennan and Congressman John Lewis. 

There is Trump in his old antagonistic mode and the hope that he may begin acting presidential is rapidly fading.

Fortunately, acting is different from actions.  Trump’s actions are definitely more presidential than his acting.

He began assembling his Cabinet the week after the election on November 8.  That was the fastest pace in history; much faster than any of his predecessors.

Each of his picks was carefully vetted, and he has nominated some outstanding men and women to be his advisors and assistants.  If someone was deemed the best for the office under consideration, it did not matter if he or she differed from Trump on some issue.

Take for example, Gen. James Mattis, Trump’s pick to be Secretary of Defense.  He testified before the Senate Committee considering his nomination that the established world order is under its “biggest attack.” He said the U.S. should “recognize the reality” of dealing with Vladimir Putin’s government and that he’s trying to “break” the North Atlantic alliance.

These views are in sharp contrast with Trump’s view on the subject.  Nonetheless, Trump thinks Mattis is the best man for the job.

He also picked two of his primary opponents for cabinet posts.  Governor Rick Perry will be Secretary of Energy, and Dr. Ben Carson will be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.  

Trump excoriated both of these individuals during the primary campaign, but now he has picked them to be among his advisors.  

Now meet Betsy DeVos, Trump’s choice for Secretary of Education.  She is violently opposed by teachers’ unions who think she will call on them to do a better job of preparing our youngsters for the world.  That indicates to many that there could not be a better choice for that job.

All the other nominees, including Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, appear to be leaders in their field and will be excellent advisors for the President.

Unfortunately, the acting on the other side of the aisle is no better than on the Trump side.  Democrats need to grow up and follow the advice of Vice President Biden that “It’s over!”  Accept the facts that you had a flawed, inept candidate because she ran a campaign on the false belief that she could not be beaten.

The comment by Congressman John Lewis that Trump is not a “legitimate President” is as outrageous and inflammatory as any of Trump’s.

So here’s the perspective.

There is still a glimmer of hope.  Donald Trump is an actor.  Maybe the oath of office Friday will be a cue for him to switch characters and begin playing President Trump.

Fortunately, even if he cannot be a chameleon and switch into a role of being Presidential, the cabinet he brings to office should provide an interesting, productive reign.

Only time will tell.  


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