Putting Trump’s comment into context helps because where you start out bears an inescapable relationship to where you wind up. It may take a kindergartner two weeks to learn how to print 1 to 10 in Arabic number, whereas, a PhD may require months to accurately calculate the lift coefficient of an experimental aircraft wing.
President George W. Bush was mocked, mercilessly, for asking, “Is our children learning yet.” It’s a funny line but hardly indicative of Bush’s actual intellect, which he’d be the first to admit isn’t ginormous. Bush possessed a quirky humor and this may have been another example. Recall, too, that W, famously, told Yale students he’d avoided coming to talk to them, earlier, because he didn’t remember much of his time there. Trump, in contrast, remembers everything about his college days and brags to the nation about his academic prowess on a regular basis. It’s comforting is what it is.
So what has Trump learned? He’ll never tell so we’re going to help out with a couple, or two, surmises. The president got schooled in civics by the 9th Circuit of Appeals. The three-judge panel let Trump know, in no uncertain terms, that just because he says something doesn’t make it true; and, that courts specialize in determining intent.
Instead of giving the appeals court a rational basis about the urgency of his travel ban Trump gave it a canned campaign speech about “Making America Safe Again.” Despite the famous Trumpian eloquence, the court refused to bite that poisonous apple and ruled against him. The loss was his own fault. Had Trump shut up, for just a minute before the case, and stifled the need to self-proclaim his intention to favor one religion over others, or about how bad a particular one is, the result might’ve been different.
Lesson Learned: If you don’t want to be hung by your own tongue just your mouth shut.
Trump delved into home economics, too. The lovely Ivanka Trump, a tasteful and dramatic contrast to her father, was hit with cancellations by a whole slew of retail giants. He chose to single one out, perhaps because they don’t have shops in any of his mixed-use towers. Nordstrom’s, founded by an immigrant, irredeemably, showed its bad taste by rejecting Ivanka’s fashion lines. It had nothing to do with her brand’s styling that, this season, at least, looked more cold than haute.
To get even with the store, Trump tweeted his displeasure with the chain during a security briefing. He's not the first President to stand up for his daughter. Margaret Truman, Harry's daughter, was a soprano opera soloist who was badly reviewed on Dec. 5, 1950 by Paul Hume of the Washington Post. Hume opined, “She cannot sing very well. She is flat most of the time." Like Ivanka’s sales. Her father, furiously, wrote the critic “If we ever meet, you’ll need a new nose, and plenty of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!” Truman did not, however, fire back at the Post during a security briefing because he was too busy being President.
Lesson Learned: One bad season doesn’t kill a fashion brand but if you attack a retailer for its business decision-making you can bet you’ll never walk their runways again.
This week’s grade for cooperation is a “F” because the president cannot help being negative. He’s proving to be a regular gloom and doom kinda guy. Donald Trump’s world is full of sinister thoughts and off-beat characters, some of which are, now, in his cabinet. What’s gone missing in most of the new appointees, as in him, is any real sense of optimism. The quicksand in the new moat around the White House moves so fast it fills everyone’s mouths before they can say anything hopeful.
Lesson Learned: If you keep telling people how bad things, eventually, they will stop listening, as in the old tale, “The President Who Called ‘Wolf.’”
All may not be lost, though. The President can bone up on his new job over the weekend, as he relaxes, once again, in Florida. Maybe he’ll report back on what else he is learning yet.