During his sprawling press conference on Thursday, as he peppered the crowd with falsehoods, Donald Trump claimed that he “inherited a mess.”
“I inherited a mess; it’s a mess at home and abroad. A mess. Jobs are pouring out of the country. See what’s going on with all of the companies leaving. Going to Mexico and other places. Low minimum wages. Mass instability overseas no matter where you go. the Middle East, a disaster. North Korea. We’ll take care of it folks. We’ll take care of it all.”
The entire event was so surreal that it would be hard to point to any one thing as the most absurd word, phrase or subject to leave his mouth. However, this claim is among the craziest.
Trump has continuously painted a horribly dark picture of the country, finding virtually nothing right with any matter, department, policy, or interest, domestic or international.
The truth is that he is being handed a gift. He is taking over the helm with the country in perhaps the best shape it has been for any incoming president in decades, with the exception of George W. Bush.
For example, when Barack Obama came into office, the nation’s economy — and potentially that of the world — was on the verge of collapse in a recession that was unmatched by anything since the Great Depression. The nation’s car industry — a pillar of its economy — had to go through bankruptcy; the nation’s banks were either failing or on the verge of failing. The country was also involved in a war that was started on a lie and ended being a complete disaster both for the U.S. and for the countries involved. The Iraq war was a failure all around as it actually escalated many of the problems that it was meant to resolve. And contrary to Trump’s repeated assertions, ISIS had formed under the Bush — not Obama — administration and was growing.
In contrast, Trump has walked in with an economy that is actually expanding; the job market is adding hundreds of thousands of jobs a month — rather than losing them; a Dow Jones Industrial Average that has almost tripled during the previous eight years; and a housing market that is in an upward trajectory. And for better or worse, the country has far fewer troops fighting wars abroad than it did eight years ago. And while ISIS is raging in the Middle East, it is being beaten down.
Trump may believe that he walked into a mess. However, that is a function of two things: (1) he had no idea — and still does not — the sheer magnitude of the job; and (2) he, himself, is a mess and has been for decades.
So far in his presidency, his decision-making is dominated by his own uninformed, uneducated, pedestrian thinking and strategizing, or that of a small handful of inexperienced, arrogant, know-it-alls who are only outmatched in their ignorance by the Commander in Chief, himself. He and his small circle seem to believe that the government runs by presidential decree, and badly drafted and ridiculously thought-out ones at that.
He has waged war with virtually everyone in the government, most concerning with the nation’s intelligence. He has waged war with the staunchest of U.S. allies, such as Mexico and Australia, who seem to have the least differences with our nation. He has alienated countries like Yemen and Iraq, who have both allowed the U.S. to operate military and intelligence operations within their borders. His first operation in Yemen was such a disaster that the country has banned the U.S. from conducting any further operations within its borders.
Meanwhile, he has chummed up to some of America’s longtime enemies, most notably, Russia and Vladimir Putin, about whom he has not yet been heard to utter anything but praise.
If his travel ban is not a Muslim ban — or the beginnings of it anyway — then, it has no purpose at all. Simply put, there was no reason to institute a ban if all he intended to do was to put his ‘extreme vetting’ in place. He could have just tasked his Department of Homeland Security to draft new or additional criteria and guidelines for his approval. The truth is that neither he nor anyone in his inner circle have any idea what ‘extreme vetting’ means outside of being a complete ban on travel into the U.S. In fact, his top adviser and by all accounts the guy who pulls all the strings, Steve Bannon, has in the past advocated for a complete ban. And his fear-mongering that if he gave notice of his ban, terrorists would swarm the nation is a patent lie.
His border wall is, so far, being done by decree as well. Forgetting the ridiculous justification for building it in the first place, just watching him fumble through the logistics, even at this early stage, proves how phenomenally incompetent he is — even at the one thing at which he claims he has excelled his entire life (building things). By all accounts, even the border agents do not want a wall. They prefer a fence because it allows them to see the other side of the border with relative ease.
Yes, there is no proposal for a wall forthcoming. The ones being prepared are for a fence — similar to what already exists for 700 or so miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. And they will range from covering a little over 100 miles of gaps in the current fence plus repair of about another 200 miles, to building a fence for the entire 2,000 miles of the border. The former will come in at a cost of about $5 billion and the latter at over $21 billion. And if Mr. Trump decides that he absolutely wants a concrete wall, the cost of that would be vastly more than $21 billion. That is assuming that one can be built at all, considering the terrain and the host of other political issues. By the way, those cost estimates do not include the price tag that the government is going to have to fork over for the land along the border that it does not own.
His jobs plan apparently consists of having meetings with companies and business leaders who then allow Trump to walk out and take credit for business decisions that have been months and even many years in the making. Even assuming that any of these purported jobs are truly the doings of Donald Trump — which they are not — they mean virtually nothing for the economy, the vibrancy of which will require hundreds of thousands of additional jobs per month. Therefore, if this is the Commander in Chief’s plan for bringing jobs to the economy, he needs to buckle up, cause he will have to “negotiate” a new Carrier or Intel deal every single day — 365 days a year — with all of those jobs starting the day that he announces them, in order to even continue the ‘anemic’ pace of the Obama job growth that he has been railing against.
And while President Trump seems to know the minute by minute of cable news programming or Alec Baldwin’s portrayal of him, he has nothing to offer the American people regarding actual policies outside of vague claims that he is going to make things ‘better.’ When he is asked about racial tensions, whether it be issues relating to African Americans, or most recently, the rise of anti-semitism, all he can utter is that “there’s going to be a lot of love,” and name all the Jewish people he knows. When he is asked about how his deportation policies are tearing apart families who have been in our country for decades, his only response is that they will be treated with “heart.”
Oh, and let’s talk about another subject about which he whines often. The Commander in Chief claims that the speed with which his Cabinet is being confirmed is the slowest in history. Yet, it appears to be faster than any of his predecessors in the past quarter century. Simply put, he is actually getting his government confirmed faster, not slower than Obama or Bush.
But there is a much bigger issue for which he cannot point the finger anywhere but himself — perhaps, that’s the reason we are not hearing about it. Of some 700 appointments for which he is required to obtain Congressional approval, he has not even named — not even nominated — 660 of them. The President who has time to be the TV Guide of cable news; has time to rail against Nordstrom for dropping his daughter’s product line; has time to call out individual news reports; and who spends time critiquing his replacement on The Apprentice — yes, that President — apparently has not found the time to even nominate more than 90 percent of his government.
For example, while his Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense are in place and traveling the world, the positions who are responsible for conducting the lion’s share of the day to day work — the undersecretary positions — are not even named. Mr. Tillerson and General Mattis are both serious people who, unlike their boss, take their jobs very seriously. However, they are missing key infrastructure under them.
The problem is not that Trump inherited a mess; the problem is that he is one. And that’s before even getting into his bizarre connections with Russia or the fact that he is open for business, taking money on a daily basis from foreign actors through his businesses.
The thoughts and opinions expressed here are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Citizen Slant.