How not to be president
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Now that we know Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is running for president (along with several others whose names I can’t remember), I have a helpful primer on what NOT to do as president.
I base this advice on the conduct of the most inconsequential president in U.S. history, Donald Trump. With the exception of the judiciary — something neither he nor Jared saw a way of monetizing, thank God — Trump’s entire presidency can be summarized as: obnoxious tweets, followed by immediate and complete capitulation.
The problem with the Trump diehards is that they’d read the bad-ass tweets, pump their fists, but then wander off, never bothering to find out what happened next. Here’s what happened: Trump surrendered. Over and over and over again.
There were so many surrenders that The New York Times had to keep coming up with new synonyms for “loser”: “Trump Gives Ground,” “Trump Backs Off,” “Trump Drops,” “Trump Accommodates Democrats,” “Trump Seethes,” “Trump Signals Defeat,” “Trump’s Surprise Retreat,” “Trump Confronted by a Loss,” “The Biggest Surrender of His Presidency,” and so on.
In his first two years in office, Trump had a Republican House and a Republican Senate — he could have done anything! Let’s see how he fulfilled his signature promise to build a wall, as told in tweets and headlines.
FIRST SPENDING FIGHT:
“… (if) the wall is not built, which it will be, the drug situation will NEVER be fixed the way it should be! #BuildTheWall” — Trump tweet, April 24, 2017
“Don’t let the fake media tell you that I have changed my position on the WALL. It will get built and help stop drugs, human trafficking etc.” — Trump tweet, April 25, 2017
New York Times Headline, April 26, 2017: “Wall ‘Will Get Built,’ Trump Insists, as He Drops Funding Demand”
SECOND SPENDING FIGHT:
“If we have to close down our government, we’re building that wall … One way or the other, we’re going to get that wall.” — Trump at Phoenix rally, Aug. 22, 2017
“I think everybody knows this president isn’t somebody who backs down.” — White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, Aug. 23, 2017
Months of negotiations and studly tweets (Jan. 4, 2018: “We must BUILD THE WALL, stop illegal immigration,” etc. etc.) led to this:
New York Times headline, March 22, 2018: “Spending Plan Passed by Congress Is a Rebuke to Trump.”
“Rebuke” is putting it mildly: The bill expressly prohibited Trump from building a wall and, for good measure, also blocked the hiring of thousands of new Border Patrol agents.
But Trump bounced back with more masterful tweeting!
“I am considering a VETO of the Omnibus Spending Bill (because) … the BORDER WALL, which is desperately needed for our National Defense, is not fully funded.” — Trump tweet, March 23, 2018
Then, the very next day …
New York Times headline, March 24, 2018: “Trump Seethes, but Signs Bipartisan Spending Plan”
True, Trump had given away the store, but look at what he said while signing the Don’t Even Think About Building a Wall bill:
“I looked very seriously at the veto. I was thinking about doing the veto.”
Not only that, but he vowed, “I will never sign another bill like this again — I’m not going to do it again.”
You’ll never guess what he did again.
THIRD SPENDING FIGHT:
“I want to know, where is the money for Border Security and the WALL in this ridiculous Spending Bill, and where will it come from after the Midterms? Dems are obstructing Law Enforcement and Border Security. REPUBLICANS MUST FINALLY GET TOUGH!” — Trump tweet, Sept. 20, 2018
Months of negotiations finally ended with …
“Trump Signs Bill Reopening Government for 3 Weeks in Surprise Retreat From Wall” — The New York Times, Jan. 25, 2019
Surprise! By then, 41 newly elected House Democrats had been sworn in, and there was no hope of getting a wall or anything else through Congress.
How does a Republican president get buffaloed like this by a Republican Congress? Reagan enacted his entire radical agenda (and won the Cold War) without ever, not once, having a Republican House and Senate.
It wasn’t only Trump’s wall that followed the obnoxious tweet/face plant trajectory. It was everything. Tweeting “LAW & ORDER!” as the country went up in flames; retweeting #FireFauci while never daring to remove King Anthony from his throne; spending months tweeting about “Rocket Man,” then staging a theatrical meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un — to accomplish what exactly?
I’ll need another column to even begin to capture the horror of this wasted presidency.
Gov. DeSantis, I’m pretty sure I don’t need to tell you this, but please don’t do any of that.