August 28, 2018

Trump in Transition (v32)

Trump's transition from reality TV star and cheap brand merchandise hawker to president has gone completely off the tracks. Again. For the umpteenth time.

Last night, after the president finally succumbed to pressure and issued a proclamation ordering the flag over the White House to be lowered back to half staff to honor the passing of Senator John McCain, I lost it when I read comments from one of McCain's colleagues, Senator James Mountain Inhofe of Oklahoma, who partially blamed McCain for Trump's inability to act as if he were a human being.

Here are a few excerpts from my post on another social media platform:
It is not John McCain's fault, in whole or part, that the president still does not understand that the world does not revolve around him, and that as president he has the opportunity - strike that, he has the responsibility - to rise above the petty nonsense and just do the right thing...
Yes, it is within the rules to take the flag down only for a day - I get that - but it's also within the president's role as Commander in Chief and as alleged leader of the country to do the honorable thing and pay his respects...
I was not alone in my thinking, nor did I think I would be. Anyone with a heart, with even a shred of decency or compassion, intuitively understood the right thing to do, and just as intuitively understood that Trump had no clue, had to be pressured to act at all, and acted about as badly as possible.

Here are a couple of examples from others. First, Ashley Parker  in her piece President non grata
Less than two years into his first term, Trump has often come to occupy the role of pariah - both unwelcome and unwilling to perform the basic rituals and ceremonies of the presidency, from public displays of mourning to cultural ceremonies.
The latest snub comes in the form of the upcoming funeral for Senator John McCain (R-AZ), which, before his death, the senator made clear he did not want the sitting president to attend. That the feeling is mutual - Trump nixed issuing a statement that praised McCain as a "hero" - only underscores the myriad ways Trump has rejected the norms of his office and, increasingly, has been rejected in turn. 
Rejected by artists, athletes, and more, Parker notes "the rejection is mutual."
Trump, who prefers the comforts of his Trump-branded resorts and restaurants - rarely ventures far from his cosseted bubble. He is generally uncomfortable crossing into hostile territory and prefers to frequent places where he is likely to be lauded, rather than rebuked. 
She goes on to note that his "disdain for what he terms political correctness" is something he wears as a "badge of pride." What he doesn't realize is that it's a badge of shame in the eyes of many in the country, both promoters and detractors of McCain, and of Trump. Some things are more important than his ego, but he has yet to figure that out.

Another Parker, Kathleen this time, called out the president for behaving like a vengeful brat in her column.
The world seems already a lesser place with the passing of John McCain.
...Despite traits and qualities that sometimes earned McCain enemies among friends, the past few days have been filled with with a sense that we've lost something more than the man; we've lost one of the few remaining remnants of the American honor code. 
Dropping the 'vengeful brat' reference, she says this about Trump:
Perhaps he is aiming for consistency rather than compassion, or maybe he's simply undone by the inevitable contrasts -a larger-than-life hero vs. the trite bully whom even pulpits find distasteful.  
Parker mentions Trump's comment about avoiding sexually transmitted diseases was (his)' personal Vietnam," a comment that demeaned the service of all who died in the conflict, as well as to those who lived through it. She also rightly notes that the word 'hero' is overused these days; I would add that it's particularly overused by the president himself, who has called virtually every first responder a hero, no matter how large or small their contribution may have been to any given situation.

Noting the real reason why McCain was a here -- for refusing early release once his captors realized who he was - she opines rather harshly
This singular act of self-abnegation is no one's to question, least of all president Trump's whose military title is so misplaced that one marvels at the self-control of military leadership, for many of whom nausea must be a constant companion.
(McCain) was a hawkish, pro-immigration centrist when the GOP base was increasingly becoming a hard-right, isolationist bulwark against civility, dignity, and the reality of globalization. Thus, McCain and Trump were full-throated foes, each standing his ground on opposing shores of American rectitude.
In closing, Parker landed where I did: on Trump's slogan.
It is a tragedy that McCain, the warrior-hero, should exit the stage just when his model of citizenship is so needed. But perhaps by his leaving and the eulogies to follow, more Americans will recognize what it really takes to make America great again -- and who clearly doesn't get it.