Coming Apart? Maybe Not | Mel Gurtov

Day by day the Trump administration is coming apart.

Revelations abound about the dysfunctions of the Trump team, about Trump’s ignorance and incompetence, and now about a “resistance” group in the White House that is actively countering Trump’s “amorality” and “erratic” leadership style. Donald Trump surely can’t last much longer. Or can he?

We might all be guilty of wishful thinking here.

Yes, between Bob Woodward’s “Fear” and Mr. (or Ms.) Anonymous’ assault on Trump’s character, you would think any normal leader would decide that enough is enough. But Donald Trump isn’t a normal leader with normal emotions. As Woodward reports, he believes in never taking a backward step, never apologizing, never showing weakness. He’s like Hitler in his bunker — except that Trump won’t commit suicide.

More importantly, Trump hasn’t been mortally wounded by any of the books about him. Nor has the anonymous op-ed really exposed new and terrible things about Trump’s character that we didn’t already know.

In fact, the op-ed supports Trump in two ways.

First, the writer claims that some officials are “working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda.”

S/he acknowledges that Trump has delivered on key campaign promises beloved to both his base and Republicans in Congress: “effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more.”

What the writer, possibly a senior intelligence official, most resents is Trump’s performance in foreign affairs, such as his embrace of dictators, his trade policy, and treatment of allies — in short, his unfitness to be a commander in chief. Major defects, to be sure, but evidently not serious enough for the writer to resign in protest.

Second, Trump, with help from Steve Bannon, has consistently maintained that a “deep state” has been undermining his presidency since day one.

Now along comes a “senior official” whom Trump can say proves the existence of the deep state, giving life to Woodward’s stories about other officials who have all along engaged in acts of bureaucratic sabotage. Trump’s cry of “treason” may seem credible to many.

When the smoke clears for the umpteenth time in this absurd presidency, we may find ourselves still at square one, hoping for electoral victories in November and the start of impeachment proceedings in January. We’re no closer than we were a few days ago to mass White House defections, Congressional Republicans turning on Trump, or people in “the base” suddenly realizing what a jerk they elected.

Meanwhile, Brett Kavanaugh is a day closer to a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court, many children remain separated by ICE from their families, shootings continue unabated, and bad news mounts on climate change.

So let’s get back to work.

Mel Gurtov, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Portland State University.

More in Opinion

The New Abnormal | Robert C. Koehler

Thousand Oaks, California: a city torn apart by wildfire and gunfire. Both… Continue reading

Give Trump Credit When Due | Peter Funt

Stuck in a hotel room watching CNN the other day, I happened… Continue reading

Stan Lee’s Message Lives On | Tyrades!

My lunch got off to a bad start on November 12 because… Continue reading

Blue Wave Meets Red Wall: Split decision for a Divided Nation | Dick Polman

Charles Dickens wrote this about the French Revolution: “It was the best… Continue reading

The Issues That Won’t Go Away | Robert C. Koehler

How much real change manifested itself in the 2018 midterms? How deeply… Continue reading

Dogs Get Their Day in Florida Voting | Peter Funt

FORT MYERS, Florida - Amid the brouhaha over senate and gubernatorial voting,… Continue reading

Hillary Clinton’s Defeat Became a Pink Wave | Matthew Johnson

This year Cambridge Scholar Publishers issued a book edited by Barry University… Continue reading

Activists Looking Beyond Midterm Elections | Rob Okun

Since Donald Trump’s selection as president two years ago, a growing movement… Continue reading

In remembrance: Stan Lee

Cartoonists from around the world penned tributes this week to Stan Lee,… Continue reading

Most Read