You know Trump is going to spend as little time in Washington D.C. as he can. And Melania and the child are never going to move there. The White House will be dark and vacant and silent most of the time. The symbolism of an empty, echoing White House makes me sad.
I feel naive. As recently as 2008, I would have argued that the American people still held the office of the President of the United States in high regard as an institution whether or not we liked the occupant. I thought it mattered to us that a family, our First Family, lived in the White House. I thought it mattered that the man who held the office acted Presidential — serious, sober, thoughtful. I thought Presidential speeches mattered, like the one George Bush gave after 9/11 or the one President Obama gave at the memorial the nine slain at Mother Emmanuel Church. I thought we wanted to see how our President grappled with complex matters, hear him explain his thinking to the White House Press Corps, hear him challenged with follow-up questions to his carefully scripted remarks. I thought we wanted to at least hope that the President aspired to lead all of us, not just those who got him elected.
Trump makes a mockery of all that. He’s cheapened the Presidency unbearably, even before taking office. Now access to him has a price tag: stay at one of his properties. Flatter him. Simple as that. Conflicts of interest? They can’t happen, because of who he now is. Have you heard a peep from all the Republican investigative panels who were salivating to put Hillary Clinton under a microscope? Nah. I haven’t either. Trump’s not going to talk to us, to the press. He’s going to tweet. He’s not going to give thoughtful speeches, as the President is sometimes called to do. He can’t string three sentences together without a teleprompter, and when he reads his remarks he’s boring. He’s going to keep doing rallies, where he can bask in the glow of the poorly educated who love him. These are his people. If the Republicans in Congress balk, Trump will whip up a tweet storm to turn public opinion against them. They know it. So does he.
Trump has no interest in representing all of us. He plays one group off against another, using lies, innuendo, exaggeration, inflammatory cheap shots. Who will call him to account? Not the Republicans in Congress, who are more than willing to ignore his character flaws in return for his signing their agenda to make the rich richer and the vulnerable invisible.
The show starts in earnest on January 20th.