The president talks a good game, but people are finding out that his words are meaningless because he never backs up what he says.
Liberals have derided President Donald Trump as the emperor with no clothes because of his tendency to talk big but deliver little, but in recent weeks more people have apparently decided that Trump also has no teeth, and his bark is far worse than his bite.
Democrats and Republicans in Congress came together to pass new sanctions on Russia and, at the same time, limit Trump’s ability to end or alter those sanctions. Trump blustered a bit, but he ultimately signed the legislation which, had he vetoed it, would have become law anyway because just about everyone in Congress would have joined to override his action.
Even other countries are seeing Trump as all talk and no action. When Trump cried about China not doing more to contain North Korea aggression in its nuclear testing, China responded by telling our president he should just quit with the “emotional venting.” Having a president who is ignored in his own country is bad enough; having one that gets the same treatment on the world stage puts us at a tremendous strategic disadvantage.
Even our own military leaders have apparently decided that the president’s penchant for Twitter rants isn’t worth listening to. After Trump tweeted that he would ban transgender troops from our military, Marine Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he’d wait until he got a directive from the White House and the Defense Secretary before making any changes to current policy, and he said that the military would continue to “treat all of our personnel with respect.”
Coast Guard Commandant Paul Zukunft went a step further, saying the service would not “break the faith” and would stand by transgender troops.
Even members of Trump’s own adoptive party are coming out more vocally against him, seemingly daring him to try anything. When Trump said House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should end the 60-vote majority needed to pass legislation and should try again to repeal the Affordable Care Act, McConnell noted that he couldn’t even generate the 50 votes needed through the reconciliation process to pass repeal, so the 60-vote threshold was not the issue. He also took care to note that he had explained that fact to Trump previously, and reiterated that he would not be changing the Senate rules. He also released an agenda of priorities for the coming months and, despite Trump’s badgering about Congress needing to try to repeal Obamacare again, health reform was not on McConnell’s to do list.
Senators like Lindsey Graham, Jeff Flake and a few others have been consistent critics of the president, but even some of the more previously faithful members of Congress have begun to ignore Trump, safe in the knowledge that his threats are empty, and his pandering to his base will take him only so far. In Congress, Republicans seem to be more interested in opening relationships with Democrats to actually accomplish policy goals, regardless of what Trump is doing in the White House – or on the golf course as the case may be.
Even Trump’s no-nonsense tough guy businessman persona – the one he played up bigly on the NBC television show The Apprentice – was an illusion. Clay Aiken, who was a “Celebrity Apprentice” contestant, said in a podcast for the Raleigh, N.C. News & Observer that it was the producers of the show, not Trump, who decided which contestants would get the boot. Trump merely uttered the phrase “You’re fired.” He never made the decision. Logically that makes sense, and it is probably how most, if not all of the so-called “reality shows” operate. But Trump got famous for the line anyway, and rode it all the way to the presidency.
His real approach to dealing with people, however, is more evident in his failed attempts to embarrass Attorney General Jeff Sessions out of his job. Trump has gone on several twitter rants against Sessions – who ironically is probably helping achieve more of the Trump objectives than anyone else in Washington – because Sessions rightfully stepped away from anything to do with the investigations into Trump’s dealings with Russia.
In response to the Twitter abuse he has endured, Sessions said that if Trump wants to fire him, he’s more than welcome to. But in yet another sign of the growing distance between Trump and just about everyone else in Washington, Republicans who had served with Sessions in the Senate – and even some Democrats – warned Trump that he better not fire Sessions.
Even the most ardent Trump supporter has always said you can’t take the man literally in excusing his rants. They maintain that, despite his faults, his ability to shake things up and get things done is just what Washington needs. Trouble is, he doesn’t seem to be getting much done.
And now, world leaders, people in his own political party and others are seeing that the emperor with no clothes also has no teeth.
Jim Lee is Editor for GateHouse Media Delaware. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.