In preparation for an interview I’ll be doing soon on my TBN show with CBS’s chief White House correspondent Major Garrett, I examined his latest book, “MR. TRUMP’S WILD RIDE: The Thrills, Chills, Screams and Occasional Blackouts of an Extraordinary Presidency.” I might not have wasted my time with the typical Trump book by the typical mainstream media-type, but Garrett has sincerely tried his best to present an even-handed assessment of the first part of Trump’s presidency. Given these viciously polarized times, I have to give him some credit for even attempting that.
And let’s give him credit for a great, evocative title as well. Thinking back to the1990s when Bill and Hillary were in the White House, I remember we could have characterized the Clinton years in much the same way. Back then, we really did have “scandal fatigue” with the Clintons, as it was just one scandal after another and they were NOT created, as Hillary tried to claim, by “a vast right-wing conspiracy.” But the period we’re living through now is even more intense. Some say that Trump is facing the most negative media since Abraham Lincoln. And this time, the weird thing is that there isn’t even any actual Trump scandal that we know of, just a lot of frantic searching for...something, anything...by those who fervently oppose him and will do whatever it takes to damage him and, ultimately, unseat him.
Yet the only Trump-related scandal we’ve uncovered has had to do not with Trump himself but with the unethical and even unlawful efforts by the FBI (including some who are now on the special counsel team) to incriminate him and get rid of him. Oh, and we also –- big surprise –- have encountered still more Clinton misbehavior, which never seems to end.
It’s hard to tell if the carnival atmosphere surrounding Trump’s administration is truly the result of his own mercurial personality (judging from his book, Garrett would say that in large part, it is), or if any Republican coming in on the heels of The Exalted One would have received pretty much the same reception from the left. With “progressives” becoming increasingly radical and in-your-face, any move towards conservatism by any Republican President, not just Trump, would no doubt be met with rage and condemnation. For example, surely any constitutionalist nominated for the Supreme Court by any Republican President would have been met with the same hysteria that Justice Brett Kavanaugh experienced.
Try to imagine the reaction from the left if, say, a President Pence had nominated Kavanaugh (or any other judge; it doesn’t matter). I’d venture to say that because of Pence’s deep religious faith and strong pro-life stance, any Supreme Court nomination he put forth would be met with the same or perhaps an even greater magnitude of screaming from the left. We still would have the decades-old unsubstantiated accusations, the repeated outbursts during his confirmation hearings, the women wearing costumes from THE HANDMAID’S TALE, and all the rest of that horror show.
Of course, Trump is different in that he fights fire with fire, always punching back. (He’s had a few unforced errors as well, punching wildly into the Twitterverse when it would have been better to say nothing at all.) There’s a negative side to that but also a positive one, in that he will not be cowed. He’s like Rocky Balboa in the ring –- he stands up to hit after hit and absolutely refuses to go down. Who else would take all this? Who else is so gloriously stubborn?
Some other Presidents have dealt with an extremely hostile media; it simply wasn’t that apparent because there used to be unwritten “rules” of professional behavior and language that, sadly, people just don’t follow any more, not even in the newsroom, not even in the White House press room. That’s a reflection of the times and the evolving nature of media, particularly social media, but not necessarily of Trump himself. George W. Bush was mercilessly trashed; they called him everything in the book, up to and including Hitler. Ronald Reagan was the target of vicious hate, and that hostility can’t be blamed on his personality or behavior, as he was always a perfect gentleman.
Leftists try to blame Trump and, in particular, his ill-advised tweeting for the hate that’s been generated, but, trust me, they would still detest him just as much if Twitter hadn’t been invented. They use his tweets as an excuse for their own hatred and sorry behavior.
Seems to me, the upper echelon at the FBI were so ready for Hillary to be President and so protective of their friends and fiefdoms that they likely would have worked to undermine whoever the Republican nominee might have been, at least anyone they thought might mess with the status quo. We’ll never know, but I’ll bet they would have found ways to spy on any Hillary opponent and create some kind of “insurance policy” to at least limit his power on the off-chance he won. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least.
But back to Trump’s glorious stubbornness. No matter which Republican had won the White House, the Democrats’ opposition to beefed-up border security, no matter what form that took, would have been just as strong. They obviously DO NOT want border security, no matter how many times they say they do. One look at California will tell you: what they want are sanctuary cities, budget-busting services for all, and essentially open borders, through which they envision millions of future Democratic voters streaming in. It’s fair to assume they would counter any attempt by any President to strengthen our border with whatever strategy they thought would keep it from going through.
Yes, in past years, Democrats –- even Obama –- claimed to want border security and a border “fence.” Notice we did not get it. This assertion was just as disingenuous as when they claimed to be in favor of traditional marriage and balanced budgets.
But in the current stalemate, who besides Trump (and, well, me) would have stood firm, understanding what the Democrats were trying to do to him? Trump knows they’re like Lucy with the football, saying, “Look, Charlie Brown, you run up and kick the football, and I PROMISE I won’t pull the ball away at the last minute.” Only they say, “Look, Mr. President, you re-open the government, and we PROMISE we’ll negotiate with you then.” Other Presidents have been Charlie Browns, trusting people who should not be trusted. Even Reagan trusted Congress to cut spending, but that never happened, and deficits climbed. But Trump knows exactly who he’s dealing with. He knows that if he caves, the Democrats will not give him a thing.
Trump supporters appreciate his skepticism. We like that he keeps people off balance. That might be hard for some of the people who work around him, but it’s sure good for him when negotiating.
One theme of Garrett’s book is that Trump exhausts everyone –- supporters and detractors alike. True, but at least Trump himself faces each new day with boundless energy even as he tires everyone else out. We are so fortunate to have him there. Garrett says that even writing about Trump put him in “a frenzied state of dread.” Maybe so, but that couldn’t have been anything close to the dread I used to feel now and then before Trump was elected, at the very thought of Hillary Clinton becoming President of the United States.