Opinion

Opinion

Opinion: Trump’s one ‘achievement’: chaos

July 16, 2017

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So here we are, six months later. How time has trudged.

But the calendar does not lie. On Thursday, we will be half a year through the Trump Era. And, contrary to his signature promise, America seems less great by the day. Nor are his other promises faring particularly well.

There is no sign of progress on that border wall, much less any idea how he is going to make Mexico pay for the thing. His promise to preserve Medicaid and provide health care for everyone has dissolved into a GOP bill that would gut Medicaid and rob millions of their access to health care.

Meantime, the guy who once said he would be working so hard he would seldom leave the White House spends more time on golf courses than a groundskeeper.

But for all that Trump has not achieved, there is, I think, one thing he indisputably has. He has taught us to live in a state of perpetual chaos and continuous crisis. Six months later, the White House commands the same horrified attention as a car wreck or a house fire.

In that sense, last week’s revelation that the Trump campaign, in the person of Donald Trump Jr., did in fact collude with a hostile foreign power to influence the 2016 election was just another Tuesday. Sure, it might have been shocking from the Bush or Obama campaigns. But under Trump, we live in a state of routine calamity.

Besides which, a few days from now, there will be something else. With Trump, there inevitably is. Things can always get worse — and usually do.

And when they do, we can count on the GOP, that inexhaustible fount of righteous outrage, to stand tall and courageously look the other way. For almost 20 years, the party has never seen a minor episode (“Travelgate”), a sheer nothing (Whitewater) or even an international tragedy (Benghazi) it could not turn into Watergate II. Yet, as credible accusations of treason, obstruction, collusion and corruption swirl about this White House, the GOP has been conspicuous in its acquiescent silence. It seems the elephant has laryngitis.

But the rest of us can’t stop talking.

Indeed, from the studios of CNN to the bar stools of your neighborhood watering hole, amateur psychoanalysis has become America’s favorite pastime in the last six months. Dozens of theories have been floated, all aimed at answering one question:

What is wrong with him?

But I have come to believe that question misses the point. Sixty-three million people voted for this. And make no mistake, they knew what they were getting. It was always obvious that Trump was a not-ready-for-prime-time candidate, but they chose him anyway. And the rest of us need to finally come to grips with the reason why.

It wasn’t economic anxiety. As a study co-sponsored by the Public Religion Research Institute and The Atlantic reported in May, people who were worried for their jobs voted for Hillary Clinton. But people who dislike Mexicans and Muslims, people who oppose same-sex marriage, people mortally offended at a White House occupied by a black guy with a funny name, they voted for Trump.

That’s the reality, and it’s time we quit dancing around it.

This has been said a million times: Donald Trump is a lying, narcissistic, manifestly incompetent child man who is as dumb as a sack of mackerel. But he is the president of the United States because 63 million people preferred that to facing inevitable cultural change. So I am done asking — or caring — what’s wrong with him. Six months in, it’s time we grappled a far more important question.

What in the world is wrong with us?

— Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald.

Comments

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 months ago

Another great article by Mr. Pitts!!....But the answer to his question is very simple. I see it in lot of the posts that support the presidential idiot completely and with great approval.....

You cannot fix stupid.

Paul Beyer 4 months ago

Stand by Fred. The "bobs" and their ilk are still hyper-ventilating and waiting for fox to tell them what to think about this column. All sane people recognize the facts in Mr Pitts column.

Bob Smith 4 months ago

Doing your usual preemptive name-calling, "paul"?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 months ago

"Bob...you should have capitalized "Paul" proper name, you know. Wait a minute!! I am the one here who specializes in "name calling" Who is stealing my thunder??

Bob Smith 4 months ago

Trump's most important accomplishment was keeping Hillary out of the White House.

Ray Mizumura 4 months ago

I appreciate your honesty, at least. Clearly, the end justifies the means for folks like you. Some don't give a damn how much damage 45th President does, to current or future generations, and you appear to be in that sorry camp. Setting the bar so low demonstrates how low your opinion of this nation and its citizens is.

Steve Hicks 4 months ago

And keeping Hilary out of the White House was a good thing to do, Bob, because...

her being President would have made the world's leaders and people lose all respect for the United States ?

she would have appointed people of questionable ethics and intelligence to head government departments (and flatter her outrageously) ?

she would have surrounded herself with an inner circle of questionable ethics and intelligence, mostly family (to join in flattering her outrageously) ?

she, her cabinet, and inner circle, would have set up murky dealings for her political or monetary gain, with people who want to see the United States destroyed ?

she would have shown herself incompetent to govern, by her complete ignorance of how American government works ?

I'd agree, Bob, all those things would be disastrous for America. But I doubt Hilary would have done any of them.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 months ago

Standing tall, Paul.........waiting and watching!! (You should have capitalized "Bobs".....sorry....my college English professor would have flunked me for not noting that......)A great and dedicated teacher in my background.

My comment "(you can't fix stupid") is actually from a friend of my son's and is generally directed at some of the drivers we see and dodge on the streets today.

I had a moment that I thought it might apply here. How in the "Mary Blue Hell" did we ever get in this situation with the present national chaos in the White House?? Those of us over 40 remember Nixon and Watergate and thought we had heard it all. Wrong!!

It is disturbing to me that we have this many people who are so completely fooled (or disinterested) by this moron in the White House. I am wondering what will transpire when a REAL crisis develops and this fool who has no military or governmental experience whatsoever is in the "chair".

Justin Hoffman 4 months ago

I look forward to Pitt's columns more than I used to. Like the 3 legged cow or the 2 headed sheep in a freak show his columns provide fun, free, hilarious, and useless entertainment.

Greg Cooper 4 months ago

Funny that you are amused by the shortcomings of your president, and the misery he causes. Guess that pretty well sums up your ability to have informed thoughts.

Steve Jacob 4 months ago

Trump has been great so far...because he has done nothing. Because of dysfunction in DC, under Obama and Trump, the economy is running smoothly without interference, slowly but surely. No "quantitative easing", no bailouts, rising interest rates, no tax cuts or large infrastructure projects to manipulate getting to 3% GNP growth.

Carol Bowen 4 months ago

President Trump is directing a large scale reality show. Here's what was active behind the scenes in the Senate last week:

D.C. Council Death with Dignity law, repeal H.J.Res.27 Dodd-Frank, repeal H.R.10 H — Active Legislation Key Return to top of page Health care, repeal and replace ACA H.R.1628 HHS family planning grants and states rule, congressional disapproval of the rule H.J.Res.43 P.L.115-23 M — Active Legislation Key Return to top of page Methane from oil and gas operations on federal lands, congressional disapproval of the rule H.J.Res.36 Miners' health benefits, extend permanently S.176
R — Active Legislation Key Return to top of page Reconciliaton bill SEE:Health care, repeal and replace ACA S — Active Legislation Key Return to top of page SEC Resource Extraction, congressional disapproval of the rule H.J.Res.41 P.L.115-4 SSA background check gun rule, congressional disapproval of the rule H.J.Res.40 P.L.115-8 Stream protection, congressional disapproval of the rule

Sorry. I'll try to clean this up later, but do you get the gist?

Calvin Anders 4 months ago

I think Mr. Pitts, despite the title of this piece, may be missing the point. But he is not the only one. "Trump’s one ‘achievement’: chaos", promises to discuss Trump's greatest success, his ability to distract the media from his or anyone's agenda or actions merely by engaging in outrageous behavior. He has been able to avoid deeper scrutiny of any obvious misdeed by jumping from mini-scandal to mini-scandal. And this has allowed the Republicans in Congress to avoid accountability for their unwillingness to hold the Trumpster accountable for his actions. Our modern news organizations seem to have the attention spans of small dogs. The Russia story does seem to hold their attention, but most of Trump's shenanigans are forgotten with his next celebrity Twitter war. Chaos is an achievement. And the question "What's wrong with us?" should be asked by major news outlets more than the general public.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 4 months ago

And while we are jumping from one mini scandal to another, he is gearing up to take us to war, so his buddies can make a lot more money. They don't have enough. They need more. The more money you have the more holy you are. All hail Profit. Not all hail the Profit. Monetary profit is their god.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/17/politics/trump-world-policeman/index.html

Michael Kort 4 months ago

Trump is mentally ill ,.

He has lots of ideas that resemble flights of fantasy ..........but no real plans .

He is up in the middle of the night tweeting when most overemployed people would be sleeping .

He refuses to listen to sound expert advise from the CIA or NSA because he claims to have a better understanding of threats to our nation than they do ?

Ditto for healthcare experts as he knows it all better than anyone.......nothing to learn there for Trump !

He is always ready to fight with anyone at the drop of a hat over his personal opinions because only his opinions matter to him and others thoughts just annoy or enrage him ..

It may be that he even wins a battle or two.............../but in the end, his approach is going to loose him the war and he doesn't get it !

It is ........HIS WAY OR THE HIGHWAY.......which is mania, which has nothing to do with the Beatles, Elvis or Hulkamania !

So now in order to win something he is throwing Donald Jr. and son in law under the bus, by denying knowledge of their meeting with RUSSIAN Agents at Trump Tower .

WHAT A GUY ! ! !

Carol Bowen 4 months ago

You don't think he's running cover for congress so that they can pass bills behind the scenes?

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