Trump is an old guy, and he wasn’t working very hard — his minions were negotiating the licensing deals that allowed developers to put the Trump name on their projects. He played golf a lot. He’s been unsuccessful during his career at most things he tried: being an actual developer, the casino business, Trump Air, Trump University. Somehow he figured out how to get elected president — rewarded by that large chunk of voters who swooned on the reality TV version of president.
I think he liked campaigning in front of crowds who saw in his vainglorious bluster some sort of affirmation or role model of who they would like to be but aren’t. He never worked to win over the other half of the country, and he isn’t doing that now. He can still find adoring crowds, but nobody much else wants to hear from him.
He doesn’t like to travel, so he sent Pence to glower at the North Koreans. Pence should be careful — Trump doesn’t like to be upstaged. Ask Steve Bannon.
Doing deals has been much harder than Trump thought it would be. He got Gorsuch through, but not much else. He’s taking a wrecking ball to regulations, which is something he can do unilaterally. But he hasn’t shown any ability to work with Congress to get legislation through.
I think he loves being able to send missiles flying. But he has no coherent foreign policy, which is likely to come back to haunt us.
He likes the showy aspects of being POTUS, but I wonder if he’s getting bored with the rest? He says he’s going to double down on health care reform, but I’m not seeing much. Ditto for tax overhaul. Ditto for infrastructure spending.
Trump isn’t a real populist — although I’m not sure Bannon is either. Trump resents the elites because he doesn’t think they’ve given him the credit he deserves. They’re still withholding that approval. Wall Street types recognize that he has the power of the presidency, but see him more as a figure to be manipulated rather than someone to be respected or feared.
Trump got elected thinking he could perform on the world’s largest stage, and that the adulation would finally come — not from Rust Belt voters, but from the Manhattan elites whose approval he craves. How ironic will it be if what actually happens is that Trump’s intellectual laziness, his boorishness, his narcissism and poor judgment are writ large, for everyone in the world to see.
I find myself wondering if he’s a little bit bored, as if this isn’t really what he thought it was going to be, if he’d just rather be playing golf. He’s certainly spending a lot of time at golf, and not as much figuring out how dairy farmers in Wisconsin can profitably sell their products in Canada, or how to get North Korea to stand down, or what to do about Syria other than lob missiles at empty runways.
Does Donald really feel like a winner? I can’t imagine how.