Yesterday, at his three star Conflict of Interest in Florida, Donald Trump announced his pick to replace disgraced National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Flynn, as a reminder, almost certainly spoke with Russian intelligence officials during the campaign about Trump’s plans to remove sanctions on the country that interfered with the U.S. Presidential Election.
Taking Flynn’s place will be HR McMaster, an Army Lieutenant General, and a jarringly qualified leader to hold this position. McMaster is a West Point grad who completed his PhD in History at the University of North Carolina where his thesis was presciently titled, “Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, The Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam“. McMaster is a trend-setter in the Trump Administration – a person who not only seems qualified for his position, but also who has support from both sides of the aisle and from people who have worked with him in the past. This is the first appointment that has come without much controversy, and it begs the question, “What happens when Trump gets it right?”
To this point, it’s been maddeningly easy to criticize the Trump Administration. Their lack of leadership, insane points of view, and general incompetence in handling basic government functions have provided little hope that they will ever have a success worth celebrating. But now we’re confronted with a new reality, one where Trump has done something intelligent that most people will likely support. There are two schools of thought on what happens next.
Should Americans (namely the 90+% of Democrats and 60+% of Independents who despise the President) reward the first sign of sound decision making he’s shown since launching his campaign? Or should they instead look past the positive and continue pushing for improvement elsewhere?
“Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism”
Trump loves nothing more than adulation, a symptom of the terminal narcissism that plagues him. He filed for reelection only days into his first term so that he could continue holding rallies where people buy his Chinese-made hats and try to beat his blood pressure’s high score. He watches Fox News on a bi-hourly basis not because he loves their hard-hitting journalism, but because they are the only cable channel who continues to show him so much love (and even they are jumping ship). His being’s primary energy source is praise – Notice his tone in the psychotic meltdown of a press conference he gave last week – He seemed concussed. This wasn’t a coincidence. He had been destroyed by the media all week, and it was clearly taking its toll.
Trump loves adulation so much that he will compromise policy decisions to accommodate it. The best chance Democrats might have at getting his ear on policy decisions, is to heap praise upon thee whenever he does something right. It will hurt, and it may not be the wisest long-term political move, but if they really want to mitigate some of his looming disastrous policy decisions, it may be the best way.
Others will argue that The Resistance should take a different route, and continue hammering him on the other 97% of decisions he has made in the seven weeks (only 200 more!) since taking office. As much as he welcomes adulation, he greets opposition with twice the vigor. He is an angry man, and his weaknesses get exposed when he faces even the slightest opposition. Herein lies the case for continuing the vociferous opposition to his administration – Trump may only be weeks from collapsing under the weight of constant negative press. There’s a non-zero chance that he tweets compromising intel in response to a cable news story, a tweet that could cost him his job.
Trump has finally gotten something right. He’s given a man of tremendous experience and high regard an important position on the world’s stage. Sure, he did this after giving the same post to a man who was already run out of government once, and has also diluted the power of this position by appointing a conspiracy-theory-spewing racist to sit across the table from him. But he did get it right in this situation. This possibly won’t be the last time he does this, and we should be prepared with a coordinated strategy to react accordingly in the future.