A Leaderless Vacuum… The Trump Presidency

“You have one-party control of Congress, and who would have thought they would have no agenda, no vision, and no ability to get things done?” said John Weaver, a longtime Republican strategist. “Whether you agreed with what they were doing or not, you thought they’d do something.

“The bulk of the blame has to be with the president,” he added. “The speaker and Senate majority leader could [lead in another direction] if they had the desire or intestinal fortitude. But the two we have don’t, and won’t.”

 

It has been clear from day one that Trump is not interested in leading r true leadership. Doing the hard tedious work to forge cooperation and create a consensus that would result in getting things done in a our sometimes messy democratic republic just isn’t his thing. His experiences have trained him that leadership by exertion of raw authority in the business world is how one gets things done. So, it is, to some degree, understandable why the BLOTUS is flopping and floundering in his capacity as president and leader of the free world.

Given that his party’s leadership team are either unable or unwilling to grasp the reigns and provide direction for our drifting ship the next 3 1/2 years are likely to be very turbulent indeed. Trump certainly is not the only inept president this nation has ever had. But he is perhaps the worst, and, is most certainly the worst of the last 100 years.

From The Boston Globe:

WASHINGTON — Some presidents have been accused of leading the country in the wrong direction. At least one has been accused of leading from behind.

Now many critics have an even more profound concern: a president who often doesn’t seem interested in leading at all.

Even his would-be Republican allies are agog, as President Trump lurches from one crisis to the next, impulsively tweeting, lacking a coherent message, and warring with the media. He has shown limited ability to harness support for policy initiatives in Congress, even though it is controlled by his own party. He’s done little to provide the public with a vision for what he wants to do.

He’s given just one prime-time speech to the nation since his inauguration, a joint address to Congress back in February.

Neither is national leadership coming from outside the White House. Top Republicans in Congress have shown an inability to use the power of majority control to get big things done and an unwillingness to challenge a dysfunctional White House for control of the Washington agenda. And Democrats? Bless their bleeding hearts. They have almost as little influence at the moment as cable television hosts.

With the country confronting profound domestic and international problems, Washington is experiencing a void of leadership unlike in any other period in modern history, according to scholars and political specialists. In its first six months, Trump’s presidency has created an extraordinary power vacuum that is leaving the nation and the globe uneasy.

“I can’t even think of a presidency which controls both houses of Congress getting off to such a weird, unpredictable, chaotic start,” said David Gergen, who has served as a White House adviser to four presidents, both Democrats and Republicans. “To be fair, he’s got a party that’s fractured. . . . But presidents have to do tough things with tough circumstances. That’s why it’s a big job.

“The president, to use a metaphor,” Gergen added, “has been running around like a headless horseman.”

Even more unsettling: There is nothing on the horizon suggesting that this strange and unsettling Washington dynamic will change over the 3½ years that remain in Trump’s term.

“The American political system is based on the president taking the initiative and Congress responding. With President Trump, it’s been the opposite,” said H.W. Brands, a University of Texas professor and biographer of multiple presidents, from Andrew Jackson to Ronald Reagan.

“He doesn’t know the details of the policy, so he’s not a persuasive advocate one way or the other,” he added. “When a president doesn’t know the policy, it doesn’t make for a very effective leader.”

Multiple scholars and political experts contacted by the Globe could not recall a period in recent history when Washington was this rudderless.

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Trump showed contempt for government when he ran for office, and he vowed to break down and disrupt the Washington establishment. That he is well on the way to doing, and the free-wheeling, proudly pugilistic style of the candidate has held true for his presidency.

White House press briefings are short and contentious. Trump’s Twitter comments are a constant distraction that takes the political focus away from health care and immigration and puts it on his treatment of women, his fights with the media, or almost anything but policy. He won’t even agree with the rest of his party and Democrats that Americans have a common enemy, refusing to publicly rebuke and investigate Russia for meddling in the 2016 election.

While Trump has held 11 press conferences, only one of those took place without a foreign leader also present. That lone solo press conference, which was nearly five months ago, puts him on pace for the fewest for a president in nearly a century, according to figures from the American Presidency Project. Obama had 11 solo press conferences during his first year in office; George W. Bush had five, while Bill Clinton had 12.

Trump has also given almost no major policy addresses, prime vehicles for a leader to advance his agenda or help the nation make sense of challenges, foreign or domestic.

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Trump has even ceded the most crucial aspect of foreign policy — how many American lives to risk in overseas security operations. He has left the decision of how many additional ground troops to send to Afghanistan to Defense Secretary James Mattis.

Nor has there been a press conference on his plan to defeat the Islamic State — a public accounting that Trump said on May 21 would take place within two weeks.

And his agenda this week at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, for his first meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin?

The picture is pretty damn clear, right? If not there is More Here.