Donald Trump’s mounting reversals, failures and betrayals make it increasingly clear that he is a fake and a fraud.
For many of us, this is affirmative reinforcement; for others, it is devastating revelation.
But it is those who believed – and cast supportive ballots – who should feel most cheated and also most contrite. You placed your faith in a phony. His promises are crashing to earth like a fleet of paper airplanes.
He oversold what he could deliver because he had no idea what would be required to deliver it, nor did he care. He told you what you wanted to hear so that he could get what he wanted to have. He played you for fools.
That wall will not be paid for by Mexico, if in fact it is ever built. If it is built, it will likely look nothing like what Trump said it would look like. His repeal and replace of Obamacare flopped. That failure endangers his ability to deliver on major tax reform and massive infrastructure spending. China is no longer in danger of being labeled a currency manipulator. The administration is now sending signals that ripping up the Iran nuclear deal isn’t a sure bet.
Trump has done a complete about-face on the Federal Reserve chairwoman, Janet Yellen, and when was the last time you heard him threaten to lock up Hillary Clinton?
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the positions he took for in-the-moment advantage that have been quickly converted into in-reality abandonment.
He isn’t cunningly unpredictable; he’s tragically unprepared and dangerously unprincipled.
No wonder then that a Gallup poll released Monday found:
“President Donald Trump’s image among Americans as someone who keeps his promises has faded in the first two months of his presidency, falling from 62 percent in February to 45 percent. The public is also less likely to see him as a ‘strong and decisive leader,' as someone who ‘can bring about the changes this country needs’ or as ‘honest and trustworthy.’”
While the largest decline in the percentage of those who think Trump keeps his promises came among women, young people and Democrats, the number also dropped 11 percentage points among Republicans and 9 percentage points among conservatives.
Even so, The Washington Post’s The Fix warned readers to beware “the myth of the disillusioned Trump voter,” citing a Pew Research Center poll released Monday “showing very little buyer’s remorse among Trump voters.”
As the newspaper pointed out: “The poll showed just 7 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say Trump has performed worse than they expected him to. Fully 38 percent – five times as many – say he has performed better.”
This seems to me a fair point, but it requires us to have a better handle on the expectations for him in the first place. After all, the union has yet to crumble into ashes and his Twitter tirades have yet to push us into an impulse war.
Furthermore, the stubborn human resistance to admitting a mistake should never be underestimated. Admitting that Trump is failing, even when he is failing you and your family specifically, is an enormous pill to swallow. Acknowledging that your blindness, selfishness and fear compelled you to buy into a man who is selling you out may take more time.
But I think that time is coming, because Trump is an unabashed leech and an unrepentant liar.
Trump cares only about Trump, his brand and his image, his family and his fortune. Indeed, his personal philosophy as president might best be described as clan over country.
Instead of being a grenade-throwing iconoclast bent on blowing up the D.C. establishment and the big-money power structures, he has stocked his inner circle with billionaires and bankers, and he has bent to the establishment.
Trump sold himself as a populist only to line his own pockets. Trump built his entire reputation not as the champion of the common man, but by curating his image as a crude effigy of the cultural elite.
He accrued his wealth by selling hollow dreams of high society to people who wanted to flaunt their money or pretend that they had some.
Put another way, Trump’s brand is built on exclusivity, not inclusivity. It is about the separate, vaulted position of luxury, above and beyond the ability for it to be accessed by the common. It is all about the bourgeois and has absolutely nothing to do with the blue collar.
And yet somehow, it was the blue collar that bought his bill of goods. People saw uncouth and thought unconventional; they saw raffish and thought rebel.
They projected principle and commitment onto a person anathema to both. Now, we all have to pay a hefty toll as Trump’s legions cling to thinning hope.