Boasting regularly of his own “self-perceived” impeccable leadership qualifications at various campaign rallies while still a candidate for President — amidst his name-calling, taunting and the belittling of many people he hoped to govern — one has to wonder what President Donald J. Trump truly meant when he delivered ad nauseam his verbose speech centered around his slogan to Make America Great Again.
Just under 120 days into the Trump Presidency and an increasing number of the cornerstones of our democracy are chipped away at and thrown under the bus—with mounting numbers of people asking what next, what more?
Another week goes by, another answer to the “what more” question hits the headlines, thus compelling a national conversation on the subject regarding the fitness and ability of the leadership in the White House.
Fitness to Serve
The Washington Post story regarding the revelations of President Trump disclosing confidential information to Russian officials raises questions as to what implications it has on our intelligence operations and the willingness of allies to cooperate in the future. It also adds another layer of icing on a cake made by the Trump administration that further illustrates a pattern of reckless and questionable behavior.
The actions, missteps and seemingly incompetence of this President are at clear odds with the oath of office he took in swearing the following:
“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
It is the very “ability” of this President that is of concern given the awesome responsibility of the office he holds. A prerequisite for leadership at the highest levels is the fitness to serve. In both actions and words it doesn’t seem this President has the savvy, skill, temperament, serious demeanor or even a basic understanding of the levers and pulleys of our government and foreign policy to meet the criteria one would expect from the leader of the free world.
The initial statement from the National Security Advisor denouncing the story put forth by the Washington Post regarding Trump’s disclosure of classified information, conveyed in a reportedly boastful manner to the Russians, was curious in its very structured wording and by the refusal to answer questions from the press.
Underscoring this is the larger looming issue of credibility and the President — particularly in the form of statements from an advisor who serves at the pleasure of the President (whereby his job security is reliant upon Trump).
President Trump lacks credibility with a great many people given his propensity to lie — having been caught with his hand in the cookie jar on oh so many occasions. Thus when anyone speaks on behalf of this President, or vouches for him, in saying to the public that we should believe President Trump’s words — how can we?
On one side you have a newspaper with a long and storied history of credibility in reporting that adheres to ethical standards and relies on facts, evidence and truth versus that of the whimsical comments and tweets that often read in tone like words mumbled in protest from a child being sent to the corner for a timeout.
If it is a contest of credibility between the Trump White House and the Washington Post — the Post wins hands down.
While the investigations regarding President Trump and Russia press forward it is easy to lose sight of the many stories being reported given the continual upheavals of concerning headlines — created almost daily by the President.
Amidst this murky landscape, with the occasional shiny objects thrown into the mix by President Trump, events appear quite troublesome raising the red flag for further scrutiny. This is certainly the case in the lead-up events prior to the meeting held between Trump and officials from Russia inside the Oval Office on the heels of three significant firings, unceremoniously conducted, by the President.
Sally Yates, Preet Bharara and most recently James Comey (the day prior to the meeting with the Russians), all let go while in the midst of dealing with issues and conducting investigations involving Russia. While much discussion on this has been diluted with political spin and varying explanations — perhaps the motivation was a bit more simple and straightforward – self-preservation.
In the case of President Trump you see the most telling signs of this in his infamous tweeting remarks that almost appear as desperate attempts to survive and stave off criticisms, questions and one crisis after another that potentially threaten to derail his standing and position of power — resulting in reactions that are arguably an abuse of power.
Complacency Trumping Democracy
Each week since Trump has taken office two words “Breaking News” have become an almost expected occurrence each evening when tuning into any one of the many news outlets — so much so that many times they lose the potency they once had in capturing the attention of the everyday public.
While we live in an age where most people have instant access to bundles of information and media sources — it is no wonder many folks shrug off shocking revelations and facts as part of a normal news cycle regarding President Trump. This disengagement is what allows certain elected leaders to overlook the indiscretions and seriousness of what is transpiring in order to pursue their own political party agendas — all while an assault on our democracy plays out.
In a climate of division that is often highlighted on news networks hosting discussions of both the left and right viewpoints it sometimes lends to inadvertently clouding the factual side of reporting — opening it up to abstract and political spin for partisans to provide alternative narratives in attempts to change that which is fact over to that which is fiction. Ultimately the result is such that it creates doubt, and a lack of confidence, in how many people view credible news sources and reports as well as sincere public servants.
What more needs to happen before our nation’s leaders take off the red and blue colors and address the threats to our democracy, both at home and coming from abroad, under our nation’s common flag — one that unites the partisan colors and represents all Americans.