FDR’s first 30 days, commencing March 4, 1933, included the Emergency Banking Act, the Economy Act, amendment of the Volstead Act, and establishment of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Roosevelt, also, managed to call a special session of Congress, declare a bank holiday, hold a press conference and give his first Fireside Chat. He didn’t take any days off.
Donald Trump’s first thirty days have been characterized by pandemonium and multiple self-inflicted wounds precipitated by the President’s stubborn belief that his bicycle doesn’t need brakes. No one, in their wildest imagination, can believe that governance by chaos is good for the Republic, its political parties, or its citizens. It’s not good for working people. It’s not good for rich people. It’s not good for poor people. It’s not good for any people, anywhere, on the face of the earth. The only beneficiaries are the media who must cover the nonsense and late night comics who skewer it.
The latest firecracker to blow up in Trump’s hands is the claim that ex-President Barack Obama tapped the phones in Trump Tower. Forget the sotto-voce, back door visits by the Russian Ambassador to Trump’s son-in-law, the former National Security Advisor, and who knows whom else in the golden tower. This has to be something really, really, even more nefarious. Forget that the President can’t order phone taps on his own say so, thanks to Richard Nixon; that a judge must issue a warrant for the tapping of a private citizen; or, that Trump, himself, called on the Russians to more thoroughly hack Hillary Clinton’s official correspondence.
Given the trail of lies that has streamed out of the White House, unabated, ever since the inauguration, this latest assertion of shady conduct against Trump is tainted by the President’s own reputation for blatant falsehoods. Take the canards that, according to Trump, he attracted more people to his inauguration than anyone else in history; that he lost the popular vote because of three million illegal votes, many cast by dead people; or, that he won California, the bluest of the blues. If he, actually, believes these claims, then the President is seriously deluded.
Ronald Reagan was an entertainer. He played good guys on screen and people liked him. Reagan, also, was a serious President though he governed with a smile. He had convictions. Reagan knew right from wrong. Reagan got things done, and the public, largely, supported him. Donald Trump was an entertainer, too, but he played a jerk on TV who, still, goes out of his way to make people dislike him. Worse, Trump’s ethical boundaries are suspect. The contrast between these two men couldn’t be greater and that’s a problem. The public needs to have faith in the man, or woman, who leads the nation and, by extension, the world.
Practically everything Trump has touched, so far, lends support to his critics’ claims that he is temperamentally, emotionally, and intellectually incapable of governing. This is not the man his supporters voted for except, maybe, the anarchists who want to tear the house down. Most of Trump’s supporters voted for the guy who said he could act “unbelievably presidential” once the willy-nilly bar room punching of the campaign stopped. It’s starting to look like that’ll never happen.
Even the FBI has said Trump’s allegations should be ignored. If Trump thinks an escalation of his personal vendetta against the more popular President Obama will get the Russian monkey off his back then he goofed again. Trump is right, though, that Congress should investigate. It should investigate everything having to do with this strangest of all presidencies.
The bravest Republican in the country is South Carolina’s Senator Lindsay Graham. He, practically alone among his party, has resisted Trump’s siren call to national disaster. Senator Graham, not Trump, should be President. We’d be a better country for it.