After about a month of President Trump, it seems to me that Trump actually cares about very few things and certainly doesn’t have much of any actual policies in mind, so he mostly delegates all that and as long as he gets to pretend to be the big man in charge by making a ridiculous show out of signing things and showing them off, he really doesn’t care much about what he’s actually signing off on. That means in such as policy is actually being driven, it’s mostly being driven by the people around Trump. Here’s how I see the breakdown:
WHAT TRUMP CARES ABOUT:
- Trump (and the “brand”) – Trump has little ability to see beyond himself. (Plenty of evidence for that, but here’s an example. Trump has already filed his candidacy for the 2020 Presidential election. Why? So he can legally begin fundraising for his campaign. Why hasn’t this been done before? Because by fundraising for himself, he takes away from fundraising for other GOP candidates for the mid-term elections. But of course he really doesn’t care about that.) He desperately wants to be taken seriously (which I believe was his whole point of running for President, not for any particular agenda and vision he had or the nation). So most of Trump’s care is simply to be seen as the most awesomely awesome President (and thus most awesomely awesome man) the world has ever seen.
- Trump Organization – In as such as he’s interested in using Presidential powers, it’s simply to enrich himself and his organization. So if being President helps him win a long sought after trademark in China, great. If it can help him drum up business for his hotels and resorts and for his daughter’s business, all the better. And that’s my concern with Russia. Trump is not necessarily wrong that good relations between the U.S. and Russia is not a bad thing. BUT, my concern is that we are really talking about good relations between TRUMP and Russia, and Trump is simply looking out for the good of his business in Russia and may be willing to sacrifice what’s best for the nation for that purpose.
- The Wall – And I mean the wall itself. I’m not sure how much Trump really cares about immigration. But he wants that damn wall…not a virtual wall, a tangible wall you can see and touch. I think this has something to do with the idea that Trump likes buildings and slapping TRUMP on them…it’s almost as though it doesn’t count if it’s not a physical tangible thing. Heck, if that wall does get built, I wouldn’t be surprised if he slaps TRUMP on top of it. Probably thinks it can be a tourist attraction he can sell tickets to see.
WHAT TRUMP AND GOP CARE ABOUT:
- Hatred of the media – Actually for Trump, not hatred of the media in general. He loves being on tv and craves the attention. Trump hates critical media (defined as anything short of gushing praise for Trump). No doubt Trump can’t even handle the minimum of criticism (not a new development, he never has), and since getting criticism is just part of the job of being President, it is truly driving him crazy (and that’s his one and only concern, how they report on Trump, he could care less about reports on policy and the GOP). But many on the conservative side of the fence have also long tried to discredit the “mainstream” (as they like to say derisively) media in favor of outlets such as Fox News, Breitbart, & Drudge that more actively push their agenda. So I think Trump’s war on the media is very welcomed by many on the right.
WHAT THE GOP CARE ABOUT:
- Repeal of Obamacare – There will be no policy in regards to healthcare coming from the White House. I mean, I don’t think they have the ability to produce one if they tried, but they also don’t care enough to try. Trump repeated this over and over because that’s simply a box you have to check if you are running as a Republican politician. But anything that actually happens will be the result of the GOP itself. While there’s no doubt that Obama was the driving force behind the Affordable Care Act (so “Obamacare” was apt), the GOP will be the driving force behind anything that happens going forward so the result should be called “Republicare” or “GOPCare”.
- Immigration Policy – Steve Bannon is who comes up with this stuff. Trump just signs off on it. It’s Steve Bannon’s world view that drove the refugee/immigrant executive order debacle. It’s Steve Bannon’s belief that the United States is being overran by immigrants (both illegal AND legal) that leads to his belief that extreme actions are necessary.
- Pulling Support From Transgender School Children Bathroom Rights – This has Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions written all over it. In fact, reportedly even Besty Devos was reluctant to go along with it, but Jeff Sessions pretty much made it a ‘either me or her’ situation and Devos relented when it became clear it was either go along or lose your job. While I don’t think Trump has strong views on this, it is important to note when push came to shove which side of the fence he landed. He’s mostly surrounded by far right advisors and he will go along with what they say.
- Supreme Court nominees – Trump released a list of potential Supreme Court nominees during his campaign which basically mimics lists from the Heritage Foundation and other conservative think tanks. Trump doesn’t care enough to put any thought into this, so copying a list from a conservative group is the ‘easy button’.
I think the bottom line is this, if the issue involves Trump personally, then Trump is driving the boat. If the issue is anything that involves actual policy, then it’s somebody on Trump’s team, like Mike Pence, Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, Jared Kushner, Jeff Sessions, etc. and Trump is just going along. In fact, that seems to be the deal. The far-right tolerates Trump’s selfish tendencies and in return Trump goes along with their far-right agenda.
So you have a lot of bad here. A selfish President who doesn’t give a damn about conflicts-of-interest. An administration who has far-right viewpoints who don’t get any push back as long as they show their loyalty to Trump. Add to the fact that Trump and his team (which were picked based on loyalty, not knowledge) seem completely incompetent (though at times that probably accidentally works in this nation’s favor, as they are less effective as they could be at implementing their far-right agenda), and we are in for a very messy chaotic few years.