To turn on the news every day is to watch a man screw up while doing a job he hates. Nothing in Donald Trump's gilded, tabloid-tracked civilian life prepared him for the presidency, nor did a year and a half of traveling the country telling people he'd save their jobs. He is not doing what he said he would do when he was up in front of those arena crowds—maybe that's because no one could follow through on his many, many promises, maybe that's because he isn't up to the task. In any case, it's obvious he's not getting anything done. How much longer will it take for Trump to realize it?
The current scandal he's enmeshed in is a totally predictable uproar Trump caused himself by idiotically firing FBI director James Comey while Comey was investigating the Trump campaign's ties to Russia. As of Wednesday evening, that uproar resulted in the appointment of a special counsel to look into the whole mess. You can debate whether the dismissal is obstruction of justice or talk about the political calculus involved in impeachment. If you're a New York Times columnist, you can spin complicated scenarios involving the 25th Amendment, which no one has even heard of.
But no, the solution to everyone's worries—including Trump's—is as simple as a two-word letter on White House stationery: "I'm Fired."
This is not a partisan attack. President Mike Pence can do the same things Trump would do—appoint conservative judges, work to pass tax reform and a repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The Republicans could still slash regulations and buy more missiles. The Cabinet could stay in place, though maybe Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would want to quit too.
Pence would face some of the same opposition from liberals and inherit the same problems, but at least he wouldn't blurt out classified intel in front of a foreign minister. He could give some speeches about returning to normalcy. The country would maybe even relax a little.
The parts of Trump's platform that were distinct from ordinary conservatism—the wall, the protectionism, the vague desire for infrastructure spending—were always going to be the hardest goals to achieve, and the Trump White House is not showing any ability to get them done. Trump has already changed his mind on a host of foreign policy issues anyway. What's the point of a Trump presidency if Trump is just going to be a regular Republican president?
There is no point. Trump should quit, because everyone hates that he's the president.
Trump administration officials described the current state of affairs in the West Wing as expectedly chaotic and anxious—but having an almost "numbing effect," as one described it—as White House staff and senior Trump aides frantically jumped from one crisis and negative news cycle to the next.
In private, top Republicans fear that this latest Trump controversy—coming just a week after he fired Comey, and only one day after it was revealed that the president revealed highly classified intelligence information during a meeting with Russian officials—will overwhelm everything they are trying to do legislatively. Health care, tax reform, building up the Pentagon—all of it is potentially threatened by the latest furor.
"Up to now, many experienced national security hands had been barred from serving in this administration because they opposed candidate Trump," said Richard Haass, president of the nonpartisan Council on Foreign Relations and author of a new book, "A World in Disarray." "The danger now for the country is that many of these same people will opt to stay out because they oppose President Trump."
Twice as many voters "strongly disapprove" of Trump (38 percent) compared to those who strongly approve (19 percent). A 64-percent majority of Democrats strongly disapprove of Trump, but only 43 percent of Republicans strongly approve. Just 42 percent of self-identified Trump voters in last year's election strongly approve of his job performance, while 70 percent of those who said they voted for Hillary Clinton last fall strongly disapprove of Trump.
From defense treaties to trade pacts, foreign leaders are struggling to gauge whether they can depend on the United States to honor its commitments. They are sizing up a fickle president whose erroneous remarks on small issues cast doubt on what he might say on the big ones—the future of NATO, say, or the Iran nuclear deal—that involve war and peace.
The deluge has reportedly become too daunting for the deeply private Sevnica, Slovenia, native, who moved to the United States in 1996 to launch a fashion career—not to preside over the East Wing. "Melania is unhappy with how her life ended up," alleges a family source. "She is miserable."
And maybe most important, Trump is himself unhappy with being president. "I loved my previous life. I had so many things going," Trump told Reuters last month. "This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier." On Wednesday, while giving a commencement speech at the Coast Guard Academy, he said, "No politician in history—and I say this with great surety—has been treated worse or more unfairly."
On Friday, Trump is going to go on a trip to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Rome, the sort of journey that is part of the routine glamour and responsibility of being president. Many people would regard it as a perk. Trump doesn't want to go, and his aides are worried he'll fuck up:
Mr. Trump, a confirmed homebody, has expressed dread about the trip, asking aides whether it can be shortened to five days from nine. His advisers concede that the intense schedule—dozens of interactions with leaders from the Middle East and Europe, over a range of delicate issues—could produce unscripted, diplomatically perilous moments.
He shouldn't go on that trip. He's right: His old life was easier, and the media is unfair to him. The job fucking sucks, he is miserable in it, everyone is yelling at him more and more every time he screws up, which is all the time. There will be more scandals, maybe even an impeachment, which would be even rougher on Trump, not to mention the country.
If Trump quits now, he has a ready-made excuse: The media and the Establishment made his job impossible. He can't make America great again—at least not from the White House. He could spend his days touring the country telling his fans what they want to hear, basking in their love, not having to listen to those boring briefings or being forced to sit next to foreign leaders and smile for the cameras. He could write a new book, put his name on new buildings, and bring a souvenir back to his office in Trump Tower: a map of his election victory, when he proved that the haters and losers were wrong about him.
Doesn't that sound nice?
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