|DAMON WINTER / THE NEW YORK TIMES|
The biggest surprise about Donald Trump's first two months as president is how unsurprising they have been when you consider he is merely being the same twisted person he has been for decades, only now with the nation's nuclear codes clutched in his small hands. What is surprising is how shocking he has been -- how many people he intends to harm, as well as continually leaving us living in fear of what his next reality-bending explosion of narcissism will be, pondering how long his sham presidency can survive, and when he will get around to starting a war.
The week just passed was the week that Trump and his Republican surrogacy were going to triumphantly roll out two centerpieces of the Making America Great Again agenda -- the repeal of Obamacare and a federal budget that would set the nation's priorities straight after eight years of deficit-expanding big government profligacy. Instead, it became even more obvious that the Trump presidency is an ongoing disaster.
What ended up happening last week, of course, was that Trumpcare had something for everyone to hate and was viciously attacked by right, left and center while the guns-and-no-butter budget (titled "America First" in a repugnant echo of the isolationist, covertly pro-Hitler mantra of the 1930s) was revealed to be a sucker punch. That punch is straight to the gut of the president's core constituents, who are being thrown under the bus in the service of tax cuts for the rich, building a useless $21 billion border wall and further bloating an already excessive defense budget while giving a middle finger to the $1 trillion in infrastructure spending he promised but never intended to deliver on.
But all that was overshadowed by federal courts blocking the new, unimproved Muslim Ban, continued questions about Trump's tax returns and ties to Russia, and his ravings about his phones at Trump Tower being tapped on orders of Barack Obama.
Trump wouldn't allow the wiretapping brouhaha to go away despite denials any such thing happened by the three highest ranking intelligence committee Republicans, the attorney general and FBI Director James Comey, who further confirmed today before a congressional committee that there is no wiretapping evidence but there is an investigation into possible criminal ties between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. By week's end, a furious Trump had dug an even deeper hole because of his pathological inability to back down no matter the issue. His intransigence already had exacerbated the Mexico crisis, opened a rift with Australia, insulted Sweden and Germany, and has now triggered a diplomatic row with America's staunchest ally, the United Kingdom.
And so we were forced to yet again run a gauntlet of disasters because of the incompetence of Trump, who is learning the hard way that running a country, let alone creating 25 million non-existent jobs, is nothing like leaving complimentary mints under hotel pillows. And is utterly dependent on a kook-filled administration mired in the quicksand of abysmal management and suffering a collective case of paranoia that has aides locking away their White House-issued smartphones when they go home at night because they fear they will be surveilled by the boss.
It is not merely that Trump is stuck on stupid, as one pundit put it. He is consumed by a toxic cocktail or fear, loathing and paranoia and, as it has turned out, is incapable of leaving the cocoon of running for president, where he could say anything, and actually being president, where he has been unable to do anything beyond inflicting problems on himself, a consequence of which is the worst numbers for any president this early in his administration in the history of modern polling.
Like I said, a lot of people are going to be harmed.
It is appropriate that people who voted for Trump and told the rest of us to just get over it after he won are harmed first and worst. With that off my chest, I can move on to pondering how long his sham of a presidency can last.
The answer is that I don't know. Nobody knows. For one thing, the 62 million or so people who voted for Trump remain faithful even as many of them are about to be gut punched. For another, the Republican-controlled Congress desperately needs Trump to turn its twisted agenda into law. Only then can the party bother to begin to question whether he is doing the GOP more harm than good, never mind the country.
My guess is that Trump's presidency will last until that moment when his manifold symptoms of instability, notably his inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality, become too huge for even his handlers to continue ignore and must be dealt with.