OPINION: The Grand Trump Experiment Isn’t Working

Mark Reardon (@MarkReardonKMOX)

By Mark Reardon, KMOX

For months now many people have asked the same question: How long can the country survive the chaos that grips the White House on a daily basis? It seemingly can’t really be sustained for three and a half more years. Even though I was a declared #NeverTrumper and didn’t vote for him (to be clear I didn’t vote for Hillary either – I wrote in the name of a friend who is a lawmaker in Wisconsin) I always thought it was important to recognize why Trump had so much support and managed to win the election against great odds. People are sick and tired of the same old thing in Washington. It was a big giant middle finger to the “establishment politicians” in the “swamp,” and despite Trump’s many character flaws and inconsistency, there were many Americans who held their nose in hopes that he would rise to the occasion and truly lead. It’s time to admit that the Grand Experiment has failed.

I know this won’t sit well with what I call “the cult.” It’s hard to gauge how big that cult really is, but this is the hardcore die-hard supporters who will never waver from their support for the President. But to those people I asked this question: Where is all the winning? The only real victory was a Supreme Court nominee, an issue I’m pretty sure was a big motivator for a whole lot of Republican and moderate voters last fall. There was no repeal and replace of Obamacare, and the likelihood of a bill somehow making its way to the President’s desk is about as great as the chances of you winning the Powerball jackpot this week. Because of that, there won’t be any tax reform. Sure, there might be an across-the-board tax cut for the American people, maybe a bill that retroactively slashes rates from the start of this year. But the type of real reform which would permanently simplify and change the tax code as promised by House Speaker Paul Ryan and the President is in great peril. It’s frustrating, and again part of the reason Trump got so much support, but the reality of the legislative procedure and the 2018 mid-term elections make the prospects of any legislation dim.

Then there’s infrastructure – another promise from the White House that seemingly hasn’t even gotten off the ground. I’m still miffed as to why the President didn’t come of the gate strong with a bill that would potentially garner bi-partisan support and perhaps set the tone for the promise of Making American Great Again #MAGA.

Instead, there’s distraction after distraction – controversy after controversy – embarrassment after embarrassment. Supporters would say over and over again last year and during the first few months of this administration that since he was an outsider and new to politics, that that was OK since he would hire great people. Do I really need to run down the list of the revolving door at the White House? Sean Spicer, Reince Priebus, the epic 10-day run of Anthony Scaramucci — the list goes on. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has somehow managed to survive even after the President threw him under the bus over the appointment of a Special Counsel to investigate Russian interference in the election.

OF COURSE the mainstream national media led by what Trump calls #FakeNews at CNN never gave him a chance. They’ve had it out for him since the beginning, in large part because he had it out for them. Nobody is winning that battle right now. Because the best course for the country isn’t a constant battle between a White House in chaos and a biased press corp badly out of touch with the economic realities of middle-class Americans, mainly in flyover states like Missouri. There is no winning – and that’s mainly because there is no leadership. The President has missed out on opportunity after opportunity to bring people together. He’s never going to get the haters on the left to come around, but what happened to being a leader? If a cast of the biggest Broadway show on the world boos your Vice President, how do you handle it? Do you go right down the street from where you’ve lived for most of your life and make an appearance to spark a discussion? Or do you blast away on Twitter like a third-grader? This week is another example of the failure to lead. Just as President Obama should have come to Ferguson to set a tone for the discourse and reject the violent protestors, President Trump should have held his tongue and immediately gone to Charlottesville and simply been a LEADER. Talk to people, attend Heather Heyer’s funeral, make it crystal clear that Nazi skinheads and White Nationalists are some of the most despicable people on the planet. Despite his haters and detractors, George W. Bush earned a lot of respect from opponents for the way he handled the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

But the bottom line is while this President insists his agenda will Make America Great Again, his inability to lead and keep his administration from spinning out of control is only making America far worse than it was before January. The problem is he makes all these issues about him, not about the good of the country.

The Grand Experiment isn’t working, and my fear is that Charlottesville is only the tip of the iceberg.

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