We Need A President, Not A Celebrity [Opinion]

Mark WilsonGetty Images

Yesterday, President Trump continued on his seemingly unending Hollywood-worthy “victory tour,” this time stopping in West Virginia, as was reported by PBS. After electrifying the crowd of steadfast Trump fans, the president is reported by the Los Angeles Times to have departed for a 17-day “working vacation” at his Bedminster golf club. All of this transpiring after the president is reported by The Hill to have not yet made a determination on American strategy in Afghanistan, one of the nation’s most pressing security issues.

However, this is not the first time that the president has arguably retreated from his presidential duties in favor of catering to his base, and baser instincts. Several weeks ago, he made a workday pit stop in the Midwest, as reported by the Des Moines Register. As the president stood basking in the adulation of an adoring crowd of Iowa-based supporters, Reuters reported that his Republican colleagues in the Senate were preparing to reveal their clandestinely-crafted healthcare bill, the successor to its hastily-written and much-maligned House counterpart.

One week later, he targeted a journalist with a series of utterly grotesque tweets, all while his ally, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, desperately attempted to secure the votes for the president’s floundering healthcare bill, according to The Atlantic. While in Hamburg for the G20 Summit, and as CBS News reported that Senate Republicans were reeling after facing the ire of their constituents over their ill-conceived healthcare bill, the president again took to Twitter to continue his distractingly hyperbolic, but base-appeasing, war against the media.

It’s human nature to court those who are like-minded, and it’s virtually political canon to shower the base with pomp and circumstance while campaigning, but that’s a luxury which ends the moment the oath of office is administered. One might be able to argue that it’s the duty of a showman to draw controversy in pursuit of ratings, but Trump didn’t sign a contract in the presence of an entertainment lawyer, he swore an oath before Chief Justice John Roberts.

Donald Trump is sworn in as president of the United States.
Chief Justice John Roberts (right) swears in Donald Trump (center) as president. [Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]Featured image credit: Joe RaedleGetty Images

More importantly, the president doesn’t just serve the 63 million people voted for him, he serves all 325 million Americans—including the near 66 million that voted against him, according to statistics released by CNN. He serves the scores of Americans NBC News reports are struggling to maintain access to healthcare coverage, the 43 million Americans the Census Bureau indicates are living below the poverty line, the 3.2 million Americans CNBC reports are underwater on their mortgages, the 2.4 million Americans that use Planned Parenthood each year, and the 1.4 million Americans FiveThirtyEight reports are in the military—whose lives hinge on the president’s decisions. He doesn’t just report to the top one-percent, or the handful of rally-goers that enjoy his bombastic and destructive vitriol.

We’ve long been exposed to tall tales of a presidential administration that in its first half-year is amongst the most accomplished in American history. Unfortunately, all we’ve really seen is the president exhibit an acute disinterest in governing, and a resultant wave of special interests establish a firm grip on our nation’s reins of power. We’ve seen our foreign and environmental policy fall under the thumb of “Big Oil,” according to reports by the Los Angeles Times and The Guardian, respectively. We’ve seen our economy enveloped by the shadow of Goldman Sachs, as reported by the New York Times—a firm which Fortune indicated played a role in sparking off the mortgage crisis and Great Recession.

The American people were promised a never-ending string of “wins,” but we have yet to see the president pass a single piece of major legislation, or as NPR reported, really even attempt to fill the remaining 80 percent of vacant federal positions which require Senate confirmation. Instead, we’ve seen the president opt to devote significant energy to obnoxiously quarreling with rivals like a punch-drunk pugilist. Despite the administration’s arguments to the contrary, the inability to actualize a single piece of its core legislative agenda, particularly when the president’s own party controls both chambers of Congress, is not a sign of either “draining the swamp” or “making America great again,” but of undeniable political impotence.

Republican leadership gathers at the White House.
Republican Party leadership including President Trump (center), Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (left), and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (right), discuss policy at the White House. [Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]Featured image credit: Chip SomodevillaGetty Images

Administration operatives love to trot out terms like “the deconstruction of the administrative state,” ostensibly hoping to instill awe in those easily-impressed by multi-syllable words. The problem is that we haven’t witnessed the implementation of a coherent strategy aimed at increasing government efficiency, much less a plan that enhances prosperity for the average American, but rather, we’ve been treated to an uncoordinated headfirst tumble into organizational demolition and structural rot.

It’s time for the juvenile impulsivity and combative posturing to stop. It’s time to embrace our allies and stare down our adversaries. It’s time to stop worrying about a Gallup-based approval rating mired in the 30s, and instead do something to gain the support of the disenfranchised. It’s time to spend fewer hours on the golf course and more in the Oval Office. It’s time to devote more of the day to the intensive study of pressing issues, and less to constructing Twitter rants and what Business Insider depicts as prolific cable news digestion. It’s time to start acting like the president of the United States, and less like a part-time television show star.

[Featured image by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]