The time has come for President Donald Trump to look in the mirror and say: “You’re fired!”
Instead, the president publicly fantasizes about joining the pantheon of American icons on Mount Rushmore. He declares that he can be more “presidential” than all of his predecessors except Abraham Lincoln. Move over Washington, Jefferson, Adams, TR, FDR, Ike, JFK, LBJ, Obama.
Delusions of grandeur on this scale, distortions of reality of this magnitude, are typical of certain cases of psychosis. The person who insists he is Napoleon is the archetype. After half a year of wreaking havoc on the Republic and consternation around the world, for Trump to imply that he is more “presidential” than giants like Washington, Jefferson and FDR is a colossal example of delusion and distortion. Such a warped perspective is terrifying in a person authorized to unleash a nuclear holocaust.
Compare. Washington won a war against the world’s greatest empire with his rag tag army. He was as responsible as anyone for the establishment of the nation, including the precedent that even the founder should not become king or autocrat but remain a citizen with limited and short-lived powers.
Jefferson wrote key foundational texts, a blueprint for the nation that, with a relatively small number of amendments, is still valid 250 years later.
FDR rallied the country during the Great Depression and World War II.
To be presidential means first and foremost to be statesman. Washington, Jefferson, and FDR were statesmen. Trump is the antithesis of a statesman.
What has Trump done? Sow division, vilify whole classes of people, create a climate in which hate crimes have proliferated. And that was even before the election.
Since then he has shown to be a loser, his favorite label for anyone or anything he holds in contempt. He lost the electoral vote by 3 million votes and won the presidency only because of the archaic, antidemocratic Electoral College. All his efforts to prove he was denied victory in the popular vote by massive voter fraud have failed.
He has tried and failed to quash the investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and the Russian government.
Most significant, under his watch the Republican Congress has not passed any significant legislation. Last week, with the failure in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA, aka Obamacare), Trump and his Republican party suffered a colossal and embarrassing defeat. Sweet.
For seven years Republicans in Congress made repeal of the ACA their top priority. Trump campaigned on repealing “Obamacare on day one.” It took Trump and Congressional Republicans many more days than that to fail.
The Republican health care “reform” effort was a disaster from every angle. Mean and nasty to the most vulnerable. Terrible as health policy, bound if enacted to increase morbidity, mortality, exclusion, and cost. Unprecedently unpopular.
What made the defeat of the effort to smash Obamacare so sweet is that it disrupted the Republican/Trump obsession with obliterating the Obama legacy. Even sweeter was the fact that defeat came because three Republicans of conscience broke ranks and voted no.
But the sweetest fact of all was that the decisive vote, the coup de grace, was delivered by John McCain. During the campaign, Trump had ridiculed McCain’s war record, which included a long stint in a North Vietnamese POW camp.
Trump said he liked people “who didn’t get captured.” Getting captured for Trump meant that McCain is a loser. Vicious, stupid many times over.
Trump, of course, is not a loser because he didn’t serve. He skipped the draft because of a dubious medical excuse. While McCain was enduring a harsh captivity, Trump was taking risks too. Battling adversaries in the sleaziest corners of the New York City real estate business. In the watering holes of Manhattan, pushing himself on women, some of whom pushed back. Braving hazards on golf courses all over the world.
The comeuppance McCain handed Trump last week didn’t prevent the president from making America mean again. With his approval numbers in the gutter, Trump once more resorted to the scapegoat card to fire up the most hate-filled part of his base.
Then it had been Mexicans. Now it was the LGBT community. In a single week, he struck three blows against that group, betraying the campaign promise that “the LGBT community is going to love me.” Reversing the policy allowing LGBT people to serve in the military. Making it safe again for employers to discriminate based on sexual orientation. Nominating Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, a fierce opponent of same-sex marriage, to a human rights ambassadorship.
Trump last week failed to implode the ACA. The implosion instead took place within his own administration, with firings, resignations, and infighting culminating in a torrent of vile, obscene insults by the new chief of communications, aimed at other top White House officials.
In the end, Trump decided to name a four-star general White House Chief of Staff, probably thinking the military man could make all of Trump’s toy soldiers march in single file. Good luck. The rot starts from the head. Trump is the least disciplined of all. His Twitter blitz has continued unabated.
Trump, you will never be on Mount Rushmore. Miami, however, offers you Mount Trashmore* as a consolation prize.
Look in the mirror, Mr. Trump, and just say it. “ You’re fired!”
* Mount Trashmore is a 225-foot high landfill site located in Broward County that takes in an average of 3,500 tons of south Florida trash daily.