A little over three months into President Trump’s tenure, outside of the nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, Trump has little success.
People will point to Trump’s many executive orders, and while I agree with many of them, they are only good for as long as he’s in office. His tenure so far makes for a great reality show, but Trump’s approval ratings are in the gutter, and he spends more time insulting people on Twitter than making the deals he said will make America great again.
When Trump supporters are reminded his presidency thus far is akin to a slow moving train wreck, their defense of Trump boils down to several replies, all of which are pedestrian and don’t do much to rebut the accusations against him.
One of the more oft-repeated defenses of Trump is that he is, for all of his faults, “better than Hillary.” Jonah Goldberg recently wrote, “Better than Hillary” strikes me as the minimum requirement for a conservative president, not an omnibus justification for anything he does.” I’d go so far as to say it is the minimum requirement for any Republican president, even somebody such as John Kasich. Trump won, not because he’d be better than Hillary, but because he convinced so many people he’d be better than Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz and the rest of the GOP field. The argument Trump is better than Hillary is like bragging your car is better than a Yugo. A pair of roller skates with clay wheels is better than a Yugo.
Pinning the blame on Speaker Paul Ryan, the House Freedom Caucus, and Mitch McConnell is another tactic Trump supporters employ when reminded of the lack of legislation crossing President Trump’s desk. “Trump can’t help it if Ryan and the rest of the GOP losers can’t do their job!” Au contraire, mon ami, it is not Ryan who promised to be the greatest dealmaker ever elected President of the United States. Donald Trump routinely stated America is not great because of incompetent Presidents who didn’t know the “art of the deal.” Trump maintained he’d change all that. He’d use his deal-making ninja skills to work miracles while in office. Here’s a video of Trump saying it:
He said during a debate:
“With Congress, you have to get everybody in a room. You have to get them to agree with what you want,” he said. “You have to get people in. Grab em, hug em, kiss em, and get the deal done. But it’s got to be the deal that you want.”
The other defense is pure deflection. It usually comes in the form of how he “takes it to Democrats” and “attacks the media.” I suppose some people enjoy watching him talk about “fake news” and using his cute nicknames like “Crying Chuck Schumer” as they did “Lyin Ted” and “Little Marco” during the primary campaign. But is that seriously the best his defenders can do? Are they going to measure the success of a presidency based on his ability to lob schoolyard insults?
They put forward such defenses and use it as a yardstick to measure Trump’s “success.” But when Trump’s job approval ratings are in the 30’s, it’s a hell of a price to pay for what could be huge Democratic gains down the road. At some point, Trump will have to do more than sign executive orders and show them off to the media.
If not, his supporters are going to run out of excuses.