Donald Trump: The Vacant President
Having passed the nine-month mark without resigning or impeachment it is clear Donald Trump has had some success during his time in office. From successfully banning some Muslim’s from entering the country, at the third attempt, to confusing the world with a single word, ‘Covfefe’, he has certainly ended the status quo of competent, yet uneventful establishment leadership, that he ran against, and won because of.
Trump has thrown precedent and procedure out of the window during his time in office, at times running the White House as though he is the supreme leader of a totalitarian state. His firing of acting Attorney General Sally Yates after just 11 days, for refusing to support his unconstitutional ‘Muslim Ban’, shows the inner workings of a President who fails to grasp the scope, expectations, and role of the executive branch in US government. At this stage in Barack Obama’s administration the President had already signed one of the largest fiscal stimulus packages in the nation’s history and launched his campaign to overhaul US healthcare, later culminating in the Affordable Care Act. In contrast, Trump has shot down his own Party’s repeal and replace of Obamacare, by failing to gain the support of colleagues and subsequently attacked his own party’s Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell for failing to pass the bill, via his favourite medium… Twitter. It shows his clear inability to understand how he is expected to approach democratic office and his failure to effectively carry out his oath to the American people.
His firing of James Comey for investigating his potentially illegal ties to the Russian Government, or the pardoning of Sheriff Joe Arpaio (who set up what he proclaimed as ‘concentration camps’ for illegal immigrants) without following due procedure, shows a clear disdain for the rules and precedents of the democratic system which got him into office. These display how his temperament is completely unsuited for democratically elected office, yet it is his match up with a similarly incompetent and temperamental world leader where his Presidency is perhaps most worrying.
‘There is a small chance our horrendous leadership could unknowingly lead us into World War III’ said Donald Trump in 2013. This previous tweet has recently resurfaced in light of his saber rattling with Kim Jong Un back in August and served as an accurate foreshadowing for what his own Presidency would eventually look like.
Recent threats of ‘fire and fury’ coming from Trump whilst sat cross-armed at a White House meeting show a lack of sophistication from the United States President in response to a global threat, which suggests that for the first time in global history, we are faced with two irrational and incompetent actors with potentially catastrophic nuclear capabilities.A man that will attack members of his own party for failing to pass legislation, or fire an Attorney General for failing to act unconstitutionally clearly does not show respect to his own office and lacks the clarity and ability to make responsible judgements, showing why he is such a danger in this position of authority.His lack of respect for the US government is also shown by the fact that his judgement on the North Korea situation is based on ‘listening for 10 minutes’ to Xi Jinping where ‘[he] realised it’s not so easy’. His willingness to listen to a foreign actor over his own intelligence community, whereby he is known to get daily half-page briefings, with pictures (Obama got four-page text briefings), shows his lack of respect for his own Office and lack of care towards achieving an effective administration.
Trump does not have the temperament or willingness to be effective as a President and his literal absence from the White House shows this perhaps most clearly. Come the 31st of August Trump had been in office for 222 days, 53 of them he had taken off. That equates to nearly 25% of his time in office. Obama, who Trump lambasted for taking too much time off, had taken 15 vacations days.‘It’s almost like the United States has no President – we are like a rudderless ship heading for a major disaster’, said Trump in 2014. His lack of willingness to provide leadership or take responsibility in addition to his notable lengthy absences from the White House, demonstrates the most chillingly accurate Twitter foreshadowing of his own Presidency to date.