June 29, 2018
Donald Trump continues to demonstrate his unfitness to hold the office of President, or any other position of responsibility. In the face of public outcry over child separation, he staged another of his look-I-can-sign-my-name events with an order which does nothing to reunite those already separated and leaves the zero-tolerance policy in place.
He is well on his way to destroying our alliances. One aspect of that is his imposition of tariffs, leading to retaliatory imposts on our exports. Back in February, 2017, Trump extolled Harley-Davidson as "a true American icon, one of the greats." He thanked the company for "building things in America." No doubt he didn’t intend to discourage the company’s producing motorcycles here, but that is what he did, by starting a trade war. The EU now has imposed tariffs on American-made Harleys, so the company is planning to avoid them by manufacturing abroad those intended for Europe. Trump now has attacked the company and threatened to tax its motorcycles imported from overseas plants, apparently unaware that those sold here will be manufactured here.
Other industries also are about to feel the backlash from Trump’s trade tirade, in the form of tariffs imposed by the EU, China, Canada or Mexico. America’s largest manufacturer of nails has laid off employees and may go out of business due to the increased cost of material and its effect on prices. It will be interesting to see whether the President’s supporters will vote their pocketbooks next time.
The child-separation initiative resulted from bias, political calculation — confidence that an anti-immigration stance always would be a winner among the base — and a lack of moral sense great enough to blind him to the likely backlash. The tariffs seem to have originated in a belief that the world is taking advantage of us; Trump would show the world who’s in charge. The strategy would be economic warfare, encapsulated in his inane tweet, "trade wars are good, and easy to win." Ignorant may be too mild a term to explain that; delusional would be more apt.
Then there is his notion of diplomacy. After his meeting with Kim, Trump declared "that there “is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.,” and “Everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office.” Well, no. Despite the boasting, Trump sent a report to Congress on June 22 stating: "The existence and risk of proliferation of weapons-usable fissile material on the Korean Peninsula and the actions and policies of the Government of North Korea continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States." Accordingly, he said, "I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency with respect to North Korea" declared in Executive Orders stretching back to 2010.
Trump seems unable to resist saying, or tweeting, the first thing that pops into his head, regardless of truth or effect, or even the likelihood of looking foolish. Sarah Huckabee Sanders recently was asked to leave a restaurant because the owner disapproved of her association with the administration. Trump responded by calling the restaurant filthy, but it has a far better health record that several of his. Obviously he never learned about glass houses and stones.
The immigrant-child issue has caused a decline in Trump’s approval ratings, according to Gallup, from 45 positive (his high) - 50 negative, to 41 positive - 55 negative. Approval among Republicans went from 90 to 87. The Donald has a different view, or views. At a rally on June 25, he offered this analysis, apparently unaware of (or ignoring) the drop announced that day: “We’ve never had higher polls than we have now,” he said. “Even Gallup, who treats me horribly. You know polls are fake news also, you know? What they do, it’s called suppression. They put out these horrible polls, and then they hope that everyone’s going to say ‘Hey, I like Trump, but he’s got no chance of winning.’ Suppression. It should be illegal, actually." My numbers are great, but if they aren’t, here’s why, and there ought to be a law.
In truth, those numbers are, even after the decline, bafflingly high considering his record, ability and tendencies.