Politics in America

“Mr. Trump has admitted that being president is harder than he thought. He does not, however, appear to be humbled by this discovery”

Mr. Trump has admitted that being president is harder than he thought. He does not, however, appear to be humbled by this discovery. More likely, he is, in keeping with his understanding of politics, resentful because his opponents — his predecessor, the elites, the establishment — have made things so complicated. If they had not, things would be as he thinks they should be: One man would give orders, and they would be carried out. He would not have to deal with recalcitrant legislators or, worse, meddlesome investigators. One nation, with the biggest bombs in the world, would dominate every other country and would not have to concern itself with the endlessly intricate relationships among and between all those other countries. The United States would run like a business, an old-fashioned top-down company of the sort Mr. Trump used to run, the kind of company managed through the sheer exertion of power.

Consider some of the latest revelations to have shocked the nation: Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, appears to have asked the Russian government, back in December, to provide the incoming administration with a secret communication channel based in Russian facilities. In the complicated world of American politics, Mr. Kushner’s behavior appears bizarre, dangerous and, most of all, inexplicable. In the Trumpian universe, there is likely to be a simple explanation, such as the incoming president’s desire to boast of a tremendous accomplishment before he took office, and his son-in-law’s being dispatched to negotiate an anti-terrorist alliance by making a few calls — the way Mr. Trump himself negotiated with Carrier, the air-conditioning company, a deal to keep several hundred jobs in the United States. Whatever the objective, pushing aside the accumulated national-security and foreign-relations expertise of the United States government came naturally to the budding Trump administration, which attacks institutions and attempts to render expertise irrelevant every step of the way.

Masha Gessen, “Incompetence Won’t Save Our Democracy”, The New York Times (4 June 2017), SR5.