Maybe Pence ought to be warming up in the bullpen.
Weeks like this make you wonder if perhaps the emperor’s naked after all.
I’ve been on the Trump train since the morning of the Iowa caucus. I have backed him and explained him at almost every turn. And I believe that the general trend of his tenure has been a good one for the United States.
But there is an underlying stress, of his creation, that sometimes boils over into chaos. Yes, he is beset on every side by the media and the progressive establishment, and he does not get a fair shake, but he is his own worst enemy. And his only true adversity has been of his own creation.
Like this week.
This week has been a train wreck that raises concern about basic capability and fitness.
He reversed himself on his wall ultimatum, and when he got raked over the coals by people like me, he reversed himself again. His wavering before Chuck and Nancy led Rocket Man to lay down a new ultimatum on North Korean nukes. He lost one cabinet member to corruption and another to disgust. He saw his foundation liquidated for apparent impropriety, and he reversed his administration’s policy on Syria – and its dynamic of terrorism, Russia, Iran and Turkey – without consulting with his State or Defense departments. For that, Putin praised him in a press conference.
And now Mattis has walked out the door.
The last adult has left the room.
To suggest that Mattis – or Kelly – are the swamp or the deep state or the fake news or whoever it is we’re supposed to blame for things is insane. Mattis and Kelly are patriots of the first rank and of great capability, and when you turn them off, there’s a good chance you’ve gone off the rails.
This isn’t deep chess or bold leadership or whatever magical attribute we ascribe to Trump to explain his eccentricities, this is plain old stupid.
And I’m one Trumpster who has had just about enough. In the cost-benefit analysis of this president, we’re getting close to zeroing out. He puts a lot of good on the books, but he also puts a lot of bad. Yes, he’s not Hillary, and that’s a win for America, and I’m grateful for the regulation rollback and the largely conservative view of his administration, and the Supreme Court justices are historic wins, but he’s shaking my confidence in him.
The fact that most of the rules don’t apply to Trump doesn’t mean that none of them do. The fact he’s often right doesn’t mean that he’s always right, or that others are always wrong.
When Mad Dog Mattis hits the bricks, and he does so in a fashion intended to display public disagreement and all the issues that would raise, there’s a problem.
And questions need to be asked – and answered.
That’s not disloyalty to Trump, that’s loyalty to America.
Because Trump – like the Republican Party – is just a means to an end. Trump is useful and good, and worthy of support, as long as he serves the best interests of the United States and its Constitution. It is right to support Trump – or any politician – just as long as he is a tool for the advancement of your patriotism.
But the moment he’s not, you cut him loose.
This isn’t about goose stepping and being true to your guy, it’s about flag raising and being true to your country.
And Trump is like that high-maintenance lover who slowly just turns into a shrew.
At least that’s the way it’s looked this week. This week he’s looked like a clown, like some spoiled royal who thinks that his every whim is inspired genius. This week, he’s been a lot less Ronald Reagan and a lot more Kaiser Wilhelm.
And when Mattis heads for the door, as a Trump supporter, I wonder if I should, too.
And I don’t think I’m the only one.
He’s the general in this war, and everybody from the center to the right is going to continue to march behind him, but morale in the ranks is low, and there will be desertions. And quiet whisperings about primaries.
And based on this week, that might not be a bad thing.
Trump’s got to cut the drama, or he’s going to cut his own political throat.