Over the course of the past two years, I have often written about my disdain for the Trump personality. Of the 16 candidates in the Republican primary, he was my 17th choice. I have constantly called him out for his pugnacious personality, his sophomoric name-calling and the too frequent bending the truth to the breaking point over matters that seemed rather inconsequential.
At the time of the election, I was among the 70 percent of Americans who thought the nation was moving in the wrong direction. I saw danger in turning the Supreme Court – and all the lower federal courts – into activist judicial systems more likely to make law than interpret it. As a pro-lifer, I was reasonably convinced that Trump was sincere in his anti-abortion campaign statements. I also believed that for all his faults, he would restore the United States to international leadership.
When faced with the possibility of the continuation of the autocratic big government and too often failed liberalism that had consumed the Democratic Party, I crossed my fingers, held my nose and voted for Trump. It was not because of his flamboyance or thuggish antics, but despite them.
Since that time, I have been pleasantly surprised by his devotion to sound conservative policies. I felt my vote was more than vindicated with his appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Even though the Republicans lacked the resolve to end Obamacare, I was happy to see the end of the mandate that forced so many young people into meaningless coverage at high prices. His toughness and directness in foreign policy – whether with our NATO allies, the Arab states, North Korea, China and, yes, even Russia – were beginning to show positive results for America. Serious de-regulation was long overdue.
My vote for Trump was based on what I believed – and still believe – to have been a definite benefit in ending the Democrat’s lies about wanting to secure our borders while they did nothing to achieve that end. For some the wall may be a specific promise. For me it was a metaphor for real border security and that is all I wanted – all that any of us should want.
Even on policy, I do not surrender my conservative beliefs for partisan political expediency. I still believe we should have stayed in the Trans-Pacific Partnership and I oppose the imposition of broad-based tariffs – and hope that Trump’s rhetoric on the subject is only negotiating strategy as we have seen in almost all other areas of public negotiation.
To me, my evaluation of the Trump presidency was like my report card at St. Philomena’s grade school, as we called it in those days. It was a large folded manila-colored card with my grades on the left panel and an assessment of my behavior on the right -- you know, the old “plays well with others” as the cliché example. My grades were established by my objective academics and not influenced by any shortfalls in character.
Though there can be a grey area connecting presidential personality and performance, it is not the end all and be all as the #NeverTrump critics would have us believe. I do believe Trump could be even more effective if he were to do a better job of protecting his credibility by being less imprudent and mendacious in his personal comments and tweets.
By demeanor and professional necessity, I have always tried to maintain a level of objectivity in my analyses. It has served my clients and me very well over many years. In today’s political environment, however, objectivity is not allowed. One must be “All In,” as the MSNBC show title demands, or all out.
In judging the feedback I receive on social media, by email or in public presentations, there is a hateful contempt for any opinion or analysis that does not comport to a full-fledged prosecutorial brief of the Trump administration. The wrath of the left and an increasing corrupt media allows for no consideration of any positive actions or outcomes by Trump. To them he is that litany of pejoratives they spew at every opportunity. Based on their claims, there can be no one short of the Devil him or herself (succumbing to political correctness here) who could be more evil.
As if the personal character assassination and slander that hides behind the mask of analysis were not enough. The strident #NeverTrump constituency spreads partisan-based mischaracterizations over those who show any – and I mean any – consideration of Trump on any subject. As a person who has spent a lifetime advancing the causes of the black community, with a few awards as testimony, having spent 40-plus years raising a black daughter and currently completing a book to push back against institutional racism, I am routinely called a racist for any policy analysis that is not condemnatory of Trump – even if the subject has nothing to do with race issues. All the pejoratives leveled against Trump are automatically transferred to those who dare say anything positive or refuse to accept the Trump hater’s darkest accusations – whether true or not. If you do not volunteer as a fully committed resistance fighter against Trump, et al., you are an enemy of the state.
We have come to expect the ever presence of hardcore partisanship between those who make political partisanship their main motivation. Just as there are #NeverTrump haters on the margins of our society, so there are Trumpsters whose adoration of the man rises to the level of canonization. Both are wrong, and both should be ignored – and they would be if it were not for the fact that the most important arbiter in the court of public opinion, the press, had not closed ranks with the extremists on the left. They are not, as they claim, “only doing their job.” They have become fully engaged as advocates of the far left and the prosecutors of all that is Trump – and by association all that is Republican and conservative.
Make no mistake, the attack on Trump’s personal flaws is a proxy war on his political policies. It is a war on conservative federal judges, on the sanctity of unborn life, on de-regulation, on limiting the monstrous federal government, on confiscatory taxes, on legal immigration, international leadership and, more specifically, a war on my values.
Each morning as I cruise through the news reports I no longer see journalism. I see panels of prosecutors using selective and often disinformation to mount an incessant attack not only on the current administration, but on me by proxy. Their analyses of events are more jaded than plausible. They present or ignore facts based on preconceived narratives. They ignore substantive issues to dwell on petty matters – creating those proverbial mendacious mountains out of relatively meaningless molehills.
The possibility of firing Special Counsel Robert Mueller is but one example. Despite repeated assurances by the White House that Mueller will not be fired, the media has resurrected that bogus story month after month – even creating secondary non-news news stories such as the proposed legislation to stop the firing that has not happened and is not likely to happen. Another is the evergreen reports of the firing or resignation of Chief of Staff John Kelly. Then there are the totally false stories questioning Trump’s physical and mental wellbeing despite actual medical test reports that establish the President is in rather good health. Those who meet with Trump – from citizens to heads of state – all conform to his mental and physical acuity.
What the media has done is constructed a Kabuki Theater of mythological narratives designed to create political illusions with a singular purpose. Rather than doing fair reporting of relevant facts, the Fourth Estate is colluding with the left-wing Democratic Party to influence public opinion. Rather than to inform, the media is too obviously committed to the specific goals of removing Trump from office, electing a Democrat Congress in 2018 and restoring a Democrat to the presidency in 2020.
If that is the mission of the media, it is not easy to take the time to objectively report on the Trump administration in terms of the all-important policies. The fact that Trump has his faults, and that they are untraditionally big ones, does not justify the reckless disregard for journalistic integrity that has undermined the appropriate and necessary role of a free press in a democratic society. It is because they are so critical to the process that their corruption is so damaging.
If the press continues to become more partisan – supplanting news with greater propaganda -- than they already have, we may find that the Fourth Estate is more divisive and of greater threat to the Republic than even wildest flaws of the Trump administration.