What in the hell is Donald Trump even doing anymore? We all knew he’d be roughly this bad at the job. But this isn’t the Trump his supporters expected and the rest of us feared. During the campaign Trump came off as an erratic and impulsive power grabber who would swiftly take whatever bombastic and horrific action he might feel like on any given day. Instead, he seems to be aiming for the mere appearance of action, as he keeps timidly playing it safe. What’s he afraid of?
Trump did come flying out of the gate with his corrupt and extremist cabinet picks and his overbearing Muslim Ban executive order. But after the latter was shot down by the courts, and his approval rating settled in at the lowest of all time for any new president, and his Russia scandal became real enough to take him down, Trump began playing small-ball. Those balls keep getting smaller.
He pretended to do severe damage to a Syrian airbase, but made a point of not seriously harming it, so as not to provoke a response. He pretended he was sending a warship fleet to North Korea, but he never did. He backed down on his threat to rip up the Iran peace deal. He backed down after his initial failure at repealing ObamaCare. And now he’s backed down on his empty threat to shut down the government unless someone funds his border wall, because by now everyone involved knows the only threats he makes are empty ones.
Simply put, Donald Trump is doing nothing. He’s not trying to do the bombastic things he insisted he’d do. He’s not doing most of the basic things a president is supposed to do. He’s just sort of there. And he’s not even really there, considering how much time he’s spending away from the White House. Meanwhile, Trump continues to use his office to pilfer for himself what are probably fairly small amounts of money in comparison to the overall size of the executive branch he now commands. If anything, Trump’s cabinet underlings seem to be better at the whole racketeering thing than he is.
So this is what Donald Trump the office-holder looks like. He’s a miserable deer in the headlights who’s afraid to take definitive action on anything for fear it’ll further erode his already tenuous position. He pitifully holds rallies with his dwindling support base because he can’t handle knowing that most Americans despise him.
Trump’s hero Andrew Jackson did permanent damage to the fabric of democracy by consistently taking decisive and divisive action. Trump himself has turned out to be a sniveling coward who hides in the shadows, in the hope he’ll last long enough in the job to meekly pick a few more pockets before one scandal or another finishes him off. If the Resistance initially rose up because it feared Trump might get his way, that same Resistance should now feel further emboldened with the knowledge that it’s winning and he’s losing. Help fund Palmer Report
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report