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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The temperament to be President

For all that the Left talked about how Donald Trump does not have the right temperament, he's shown remarkable forgiveness in the three weeks since he's been elected.

Today he had a phone conversation with Michael Bloomberg, who had said during the campaign that "we must unite around the candidate [Clinton] who can defeat a dangerous demagogue," and that "I'm a New Yorker, and New Yorkers know a con when we see one."

Trump evidently decided to forgive, if not forget.

Mitt Romney said during the campaign that Trump was a "phony" and a "fraud."

Now Trump is reportedly considering Romney for Secretary of State.

During the campaign, Ted Cruz said that Trump "doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies. He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth. The man is utterly amoral. You know, morality does not exist for him.”

Since the election, Trump has met with Cruz and is reportedly considering him for the Supreme Court.

None of those salvos went unreturned during the campaign, of course; in fact, it was often Trump who started the battles. 

But Trump's moves since the election are not those of a hothead. (Would Hillary have tried to mend fences with people who'd savaged her the same way?)

It's reassuring that Trump's been able to put his ego aside. (Who'd have guessed it from his Tweeting history?) These meetings were probably his advisors' ideas, not his; nonetheless, just agreeing to them was statesmanlike. 

Trump has also made some good tactical moves. Today he named Elaine Chao as Secretary of Transportation. (That seems to be one of those positions where you hear about the appointment and then never hear about the person again.) 

That was a neat three-fer. He got to tick off the "woman" box, the "of color" box, and Chao also happens to be Mitch McConnell's wife, so now Trump has the Senate Majority Leader in his pocket as well.

Naming Nikki Haley (above) as Ambassador to the UN was a nice twofer: a woman of subcontinental Asian descent. (Though she's got to be the whitest-looking Indian ever.)

And with loyalist Ben Carson as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (another position where you never hear about the person after the appointment), Trump now has a black Cabinet member as well. 

Alexander Pope once famously said, "To err is human; to forgive, divine." 

Nobody would accuse Donald Trump of divinity. But the forbearance he's shown since his election, combined with the Machiavellianism of some of his picks, bodes well.


Steven said...

Ye, he's played a good game since the election and come across as gracious and judicious. I hope he keeps it up and can keep a cool head in a crisis. It will sure be interesting to see how things pan out, what he gets done, and how the public and media perception evolves.

Anonymous said...

“Nobody would accuse Donald Trump of divinity. But the forbearance he's shown since his election, combined with the Machiavellianism of some of his picks, bodes well.”
Wow, brilliant writing. I just love your blog. It has all the qualities of great writing…… educates, entertains & evaluates (really has changed my views on many things). I’ve learnt a lot from your blog………..sociopathy, asperger’s, American politics (live in India), serial killers, beauty, the all important childhood and Prison Pen Pals episodes. Must confess, I’ve read most of your previous posts. Frankly, I’m addicted. Every morning I switch on my computer and go to JUSTNOTSAID for my fix.

John Craig said...

Sherie -
Most of my previous posts? Wow - that's a big chunk of pavement.

Thank you very much, you've made my day.

High Arka said...

When Trump does something good, it proves he's good. When he does something bad, it proves he's being pragmatic.


John Craig said...

High Arka --
Ha, you got me, I guess I am pretty biased.

But c'mon, I didn't quite say he was good....though I guess I did say he was being pragmatic.

High Arka said...

My dear John, are you old enough to remember when Ronald Reagan was supposed to shrink the size of the federal government, not expand it massively? And the same with the budget?

At the time, his proponents said the same positive, pragmatic things about what he was doing, despite the apparent betrayal. Seems to happen with every new president, in America. You're in ample company. =]

John Craig said...

High Arka --
Must you remind me of my age? But yes, I do remember.

I have no faith in Trump's ability to shrink either the government or deficit -- it seems to be a basic law of physics that both can only grow -- but I do think he'll move us in the right direction on immigration. And I suspect that the middle class will be better off under him than they were under Obama. And if we have a better relationship with Russia --and Syria -- all the better.

Anonymous said...

Reagan didn't have control of congress.


Anonymous said...

Has he really forgiven them? Margaret Thatcher was known to put enemies in top positions to keep them right under her nose, so that they wouldn't be criticising her government behind her back. Maybe he's following in her footsteps (if he indeed is, then I can only hope he takes more leaves out of Maggie's book)

- Gethin

John Craig said...

Gethin --
Good question. The old "keep your friends close and your enemies closer" thing. I'm convinced Obama did that when he made Hillary Clinton his Secretary of State.

We'll see whether or not Trump actually appoints any of these former critics of his, or whether this is just for show, or for fence-mending. So far he's met with a lot of old enemies, but I don't think he's actually appointed any except for Nikki Haley, who wasn't quite an enemy, she merely supported someone else in the primaries.