In Our Time

The Meaning of Donald Trump

Nearly half a year into the new administration in Washington, it remains too early to tell how many of President Trump’s unquestioned pratfalls and errors in judgment, most of them resulting from emotional indiscipline, stubbornness, and political inexperience as well as the necessary thicker skin experience would have given him, are attributable to the President himself, and how many to the outrageous political obstacles, fraudulent legal claims and objections, deliberate misrepresentations, false innuendos and insinuations, leaks, and other acts of sabotage perpetrated by a flagrantly undemocratic opposition obsessed with the notion of having him removed from office.

So far as substantive policy goes, Donald Trump’s instincts have been mostly sound, the major exception being his embrace of Saudi Arabia and his promises to the Saudi monarchy, which clearly amount to a betrayal of the candidate’s oft-repeated campaign promise not to involve the United States in further entanglements and adventures abroad generally, and in the Middle East and Near East in particular.

For the rest, he has appointed a better than average Cabinet and moved at least as promptly as his predecessors did to act upon significant planks in the political platform he carpentered for himself.  So far the President has reduced immigration by 40 percent, withdrawn the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris Agreement,...

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