Going back to Ronald Reagan, every president’s policies, at some point, are so unpopular that his “disapproval ratings” are over 50%. According to Gallup, for Reagan, it took 727 days; Bush I took 1336 days; Clinton 573 days; Bush II 1205 days and Obama 936 days. To reach this negative achievement it took Donald Trump…8 days! My question is, why so long?
Historically speaking, FDR had his famous first “100 days” during which comprehensive legislation was passed as part of the New Deal. Trump has been in office a few weeks during which he has issued vast dictator-like Executive Orders, resulting mostly in law suits. And of course, he’s attacked everyone from the President of Mexico, the P.M. of Australia, CNN and Nordstrom Department Stores! (He reminds me of paranoid Captain Queeg railing about missing “strawberries.”)
Trump, perhaps the most powerful person in the world (is that frightening or what?) went on Twitter to whine that Ivanka’s product line was dropped by Nordstrom. Given all the crises at home and all over the world, and this is what Trump devoted his time to?
Of course, in his ranting, Trump neglected to mention that, for months, Nordstrom told Ivanka’s marketing department that her products weren’t selling and they might have to discontinue her line. Then again, Trump has never seemed very interested in facts. For example, when he personally witnessed “tens of thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating 9/11” (never happened) or that Ted Cruz’s father helped Lee Harvey Oswald kill Kennedy.
Sean Spicer, Trump’s bellicose Press Secretary, feebly attempted to justify Trump’s anti-Nordstrom Twitter tantrum. He said Trump considered that the department store chain had “attacked his family,” and so anything goes. (Sigh. Has it really only been two weeks? Seems like two years.)
There were signs of a Trump typhoon even before he took office. During the transition, Obama, putting country first, graciously met with Trump, the man who spent five years saying he wasn’t born in the U.S. Obama explained to Trump that he would need to spend three hours a night going over briefings to be ready for the following day. Three hours for Trump who has severe ADD? Thirty minutes would be asking the impossible.
Reportedly, Trump said he didn’t need to do reading, he just “knew the right decision pretty much instantly” and he’d had that skill his whole life. I suppose Trump might be referring to his bankruptcies; extramarital affairs; many marriages; Trump University; grabbing women’s genitalia; alleged rape of a 13-year-old (he settled out of court) and other “right decisions” in his sparkling past. Included in that is his famous answer to Howard Stern about avoiding military service. “Avoiding STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) was my Vietnam.”
Trump’s inability to focus or prepare was perfectly illustrated with his White House kickoff of “Black History month.” (Ironic that February, the shortest month of the year, is devoted to black history, but that’s a column for another day.) For the occasion Trump gathered many prominent African-Americans, including Ben Carson, his HUD Secretary. (Whom Trump, on the primary campaign trail, infamously compared to a child molester.)
Normally a POTUS observing Black History Month discusses the trials and tribulations of the race that enduring the national stain of slavery and the historic and courageous battle for civil rights that continues today. But “normally” and Donald Trump’s insatiable ego don’t go together.
So, the obscenely narcissistic Trump used the occasion to talk about HIS trials and tribulations. (Including the false story that the bust of Martin Luther King had disappeared from the White House.) Trump bragged about how well he “had done with the black vote,” when in fact he got 8%. But the best was yet to come. I’m referring to the subject of Frederick Douglas.
As my words won’t be able to do it justice, go to YouTube and type “Trump Frederick Douglass.” You’ll see for yourself that it’s very obvious Trump thinks Douglass, the legendary former slave who, remarkably, became the leader of the abolitionist movement, Is still alive! (Douglass s died in 1895.)
In a meandering rant, Trump used Black History Month to bash the press and brag about himself. He awkwardly listed the most famous black Americans, evidently to prove his knowledge of the subject. One commentator characterized Trump’s speech, “He wouldn’t pass a 4th grade history test.” Here’s what he said, “Douglass is an example of somebody who has done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice.” Say what?
And when Spicer defended Trump, it was clear he, too, thought Douglass was still alive. (Can’t anyone Google?) Who knows, maybe Trump thinks Douglass is an up and coming rapper? All I know for sure is, if this is just a bad dream, I’m ready to wake up.
Jack is at facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth and firstname.lastname@example.org.