So February 28th is a historic day. President Trump acted like President Trump. He gave a speech that’s been universally acclaimed for how presidential it was. I didn’t watch it, but I read the transcript, and I can see why. He didn’t bitch about the media, or the size of his inauguration crowd, and I didn’t see the term fake news once. From a purely persuasive standpoint, it was a homerun. So what does it mean?
The more we watch Trump, the more it gets easier to see how his mind works. Most of his presidential acts have been in front of reporters shouting questions, or behind closed doors, or in front of his most ardent supporters. This is the first time he gave a speech in front of other national leaders with no one to shout questions. I can easily imagine how this would be the first time he really felt the historic gravity of the office, and not just his performing for a campaign. It may in fact be that this will mark a shift of a far more serious President Trump. Maybe he’ll stop making rookie mistakes where he nominates people unqualified for their jobs, or signing executive orders that won’t even pass the most conservative judge. I doubt it. Soon enough, he’ll be giving speeches and press conferences in front of regular, non-historical people. And it will be business as usual again.
The real risk, the real concern for people like me, is exactly the opposite happens. I don’t want a presidential Trump. I want a joke Trump who’s easy to protest against and behaves incompetently. If you ignore the style of what he was saying and just look at the substance, he’s barely changed at all. In some ways he’s gotten worse. He’s now saying he wants people with pre-existing conditions to have access to health care, not just health care. Before Obamacare, those people did have access in the form of emergency room visits. That was one of the things that had to change. He’s talking about creating a new government program for victims of violence committed by illegal immigrants. Never mind that illegal immigrants are among the least likely groups to become violent. He’s saying he wants to put aside trivial issues. What, like arguing you had the biggest inauguration when you quite clearly had a tiny one? If he keeps behaving as if he’s a rational grown-up then he’s going to have an easier time doing these crazy things. God help us all if that happens.