In the last week, the news has been dominated first by Trump firing FBI Director Comey, then by reports that Trump gave classified information to Russia that could harm a US ally. These are both very important stories, but while the media has been focused almost entirely on these two events, we should consider what else has and has not happened.
On Monday, we learned that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is executing so many people that he built crematoriums near at least one of his prisons to dispose of the bodies and cover up crimes against humanity. This is just for the people he executes in his prisons and does not include the civilians he bombs or gasses with chemical weapons. Assad is running the Syrian civil war off of Hitler’s playbook, and this barely received any attention in the media and nothing is being done about it.
Meanwhile, North Korea is getting close to developing ballistic missiles that can carry a nuke to the American mainland. What is being done about this? Who knows! This information, let alone a national discussion about our response, is suffocated by talk of Trump’s latest gaffe.
On May 4, the House passed the American Health Care Act, and whether you love it, hate it, or fall anywhere in between, it was a big deal. This was supposed to build momentum towards passing a similar, possibly improved bill in the Senate. All of that momentum came to a screeching halt when Trump fired Comey. What was supposed to be swift action has largely been forgotten.
And remember when Congress was going to pass massive tax reform that would revitalize our economy? That was a fun dream.
The fact is, four months into his presidency Trump has no significant legislative victories to speak of. Not only did Trump give up on funding the big, beautiful border wall he promised, the budget he signed legally prohibits him from using existing funds to pay for it. He actually lost what funding he already had! Even his executive orders have largely been either weak or blocked by the courts. Trump’s one unambiguous success since taking office has been getting Justice Gorsuch confirmed to the Supreme Court, and that is a big one. But we deserve more. It is time for Trump’s supporters to demand more.
Every week of Trump’s presidency has come with its own scandal, lie, verbal slip up, miscalculation, or just plain stupidity that is the fault of Trump and Trump alone. The Democrats did not force Trump to fire Comey in the way he did, without even telling his communications team first or preparing supporters to defend the move. Democrats did not force Trump to invite Russian agents into the Oval Office and give them classified information. Go back to the beginning, and Democrats did not force Sean Spicer to ruin his credibility on the very first day by yelling at the press that Trump had the largest inauguration attendance in history, period. Trump did these things. These were all self-inflicted wounds, and they are destroying his presidency.
Yes, Trump can be entertaining and he frequently insults Democrats. If that is all you wanted from a president, then congratulations. But if you wanted more, if you wanted actual policy achievements, if you wanted to repeal and replace Obamacare, pass significant tax reform, secure the southern border, rebuild the military, fix the broken VA system, defund Planned Parenthood, defeat ISIS, extend school choice – if you wanted to do anything other than bide time until Democrats retake Congress and the presidency – then it is time to demand more of our president.
Simply defending his every move is only enabling him to continue as he is, stumbling along in a feckless presidency. Maybe if his supporters actually held him accountable and demanded he stop treating the presidency as a reality TV show, then perhaps, perhaps we can move our country forward and they can claim justification for supporting him.
Throughout the general election, Trump’s most ardent supporters’ best argument for their man was that at least he was better than Hillary Clinton. But the election is over and that dichotomy is over. No matter what happens, Hillary will not be president. The new question Trump supporters need to ask is if Trump is better than Pence? Is he?