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Some Way to Ruin a Party and Destroy the Presidency
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Some Way to Ruin a Party and Destroy the Presidency

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

All Presidents have their individualized modus operandi: how they conduct business in the Office of the Presidency. For example, Eisenhower’s staff papers followed a more militarily-like model, LBJ wanted decision making presentations to follow his Senate legislative format; Reagan wanted all decisions distilled to one page; and Bill Clinton wanted all the background material included for his perusal. President Trump’s MO for the shuffling of paper is still not evident, but what has become absolutely clear is how he operates as President. It has been written about of late rather extensively; herewith, a concise presentation.

  1. President Trump is never at fault or responsible for mistakes. Someone else is always to blame.  He takes the credit for anything successful and someone else is responsible for whatever goes wrong.
  2. This Administration is all about Trump and he is all that matters. It is his ego which must be fed at all times. No one else counts.
  3. If you cross the President he will not hesitate to humiliate you–even publically–and he is willing to sacrifice anyone and everyone to cover up for himself. Lying is the norm.
  4. There was nothing that previous Presidents did which was better than what Trump is accomplishing and the goal of his Presidency is to prove himself right and his predecessors wrong; especially Obama.

All of these traits were obvious and on display again yesterday during the President’s extensive, impromptu press conference. In a matter of less than an hour Trump embarrassed Senate Majority Leader McConnell by making him stand next to him, like a lapdog, and smile through the entire proceedings, thus dignifying the President’s remarks.

The President made clear that he was succeeding in office and where he was not succeeding as with his legislative agenda, the Congress—which coincidently is controlled by Republicans—was at fault. Failures for the entire current and pending activity in Washington—from repealing and replacing the ACA, to tax cuts and reform, to delivery of hurricane assistance to Puerto Rico, to raising the debt ceiling, to enacting a budget resolution, to immigration reform, to infrastructure improvement are not his fault.

Any mistakes in the conduct of U.S. foreign policy were the results of the errors by others. Even his personal style in addressing Gold Star families, Trump suggested he was better than previous presidents and reflected a greater concern and sympathy for the families of those who had given their lives for their country. For the President there he is nothing sacred and no statement in which he will not seek to score political points.

Ultimately, this will drive anyone except military brass and ideologues from serving in this Administration. It is has already begun to cause serious cleavages within the Republican Party. If the GOP does not begin to address the changing American demographics, and try to construct a reasonable national base, Donald Trump will end up delivering the swan song for the party of Lincoln. 

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