Assessing Trump: Is He Really That Bad?

Assessing Trump: Is He Really That Bad?


Leonard Zwelling

More than a few erstwhile antagonists of The Donald have become a bit more supportive since his killing of Qassam Suleimani. It is very hard to make any kind of case that killing the terrorist leader was bad for America or, for that matter, the rest of the western world. If the missile response perpetrated by the Iranians is all we see, then it is really hard to quibble with the Trump decision. My guess is we may well see more of this. Trump got away with this one. Why not more?

Then there’s the economy. The Dow Jones is still setting records. Unemployment is at all-time lows and there seems to be some progress on trade talks with China. I would be the first to brand Trump’s aversion to multilateralism a bad idea, but if he can get better deals on trade from our allies in North America, Europe and Asia through a series of one-on-one trade deals, more power to him. The Brits will do what he wants and if France and Germany want to give him a hard time, they may be on their own fighting the terror that may well emerge from the Middle East. Paris is a lot closer to Tehran than is Washington.

Trump is putting more and more pressure on the countries of NATO to hold up their end in the defense of freedom. How can that be bad?

The fact is that Donald Trump, perhaps more than any president in recent memory has done exactly what he said he would do when he got himself elected. These programs: the Wall, toughness on immigration, loosening of federal regulations, denial of climate change, a hard stance against China, Iran and North Korea, access to unlimited guns, conservative justices, and the hatred of all things Obama is precisely what his voters wanted. Now they got it. Are they happy? Is anyone?

That’s really what the next election will be about. But one thing is for sure. No president in my lifetime has been more transparent about what he’s thinking than is Trump. That thinking may be disordered at times, but you know what it is.

The impeachment nonsense, now being fumbled by Nancy Pelosi probably to make sure that when Mr. Trump gives his State of the Union message he will not yet be acquitted, has changed the mind of exactly no one. The Democrats overplayed their hand—again. Maybe the solemnity of the process will reach four Republican senators and we will have a real trial. Maybe.

As for the Democrats, they are gathering into a circular firing squad in Iowa that will leave any nominee wounded and unable to beat Trump, mostly because the Dems do not have a resonant economic message to answer the one coming from the New York Stock Exchange.

While it depresses me that Trump is the best America can do, it is not surprising. In many walks of life, leadership is wanting. Academic medicine is a shambles. There is no leadership in the research community. It seems each lab goes its own way and has its own truth. Sometimes that truth isn’t true at all as the instances of research misconduct don’t seem to be curtailing.

Patient care is a joke. Many people do not have access to adequate medical care and the care people do have access to is not all that good. Medical training is less rigorous and that concerns me greatly. These people coming out of residencies will be caring for me!

From my vantage point, 70 plus years down the road, I find a lot to be startled by in the world of technology but much to be concerned about in the world of interpersonal interactions. It seems the technology has sped life up, but has it made it better just because you can command Alexa to play the Beach Boys in the kitchen while some company sends you the components of dinner for you to cook because you don’t have time to shop for yourself? That’s a low bar for progress when Australia is on fire and California has been.

I know, I know. I sound like my parents. I probably do, but there is much to be concerned about and even more to worry about with a figure like Donald Trump in charge of our great country. If he is the best we can do, a reality TV star, we are heading in the wrong direction and doing so at warp speed. I just wish I had a better answer for what to do next beside hope Mike Bloomberg and Amy Klobuchar are the nominees. What’s the over-under on that?

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