After last year’s elections President Obama looked back and said that he felt the American public supported his policies but that Democrats had failed in the public relations effort and that is why they lost the election. If effect he maintained that he was right on policy and the people just did not realize how much they would miss his leadership.
Now I think those comments were a bit of hubris on his part but they were not unlike anything he had been saying for the preceding eight years. But now we have the Trump administration and after almost one month they seem to be failing the same public relations test. The one thing you can say with certainty is that President Trump is living up to what he promised. He keeps saying he is a man of his word and so far I would have to agree with him.
He said he would nominate someone to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court that would be similar to Justice Scalia. He nominated Neil Gorsuch and that would be a promise kept.
He promised he would slash regulations and he issued and Executive Order requiring the removal of two regulations for every new one issues. Promise kept.
He promised to place a lifetime ban on any White House official from lobbying for a foreign government and he issued that edict to keep his promise.
He promised to suspend immigration from countries that have a record of either supporting or promoting terrorism. He issued the order but the Court struck it down. You can say he kept the promise but will have to redo it.
He promised to end the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement and he ended it from the United States perspective.
He promised to freeze federal hiring and he kept that promise.
He promised to approve the Keystone Pipeline and other pipelines and he fulfilled that promise.
He promised to put and end to sanctuary cities and at the very least remove federal funding for those that ignore the law. He is in the process of keeping that promise and several cities have already backed down and said they will comply with the law.
The big one was to repeal ObamaCare and that one is proving a little more cumbersome. He cannot do it by Executive Order and needs the cooperation of Congress. I would say he is trying to keep the promise but needs more time to see it come to fruition.
So those of are some of the things President Trump promised to do and for the most part he has kept his word and is doing exactly what he promised he would do. But that does not sit well with liberals and Democrats. They are used to politicians saying a lot of things on the campaign trail only to have a reality check when in office and have things go back to what they were in the past. But Donald Trump is not your normal politician. He does not have a political history to predict how he will react to any situation and this is where I think he starts to falter. Policy statements that are either rash or not well thought out often accompany the unpredictability of the administration. As a result the media watches very closely and pounces when they see a mistake or misstep. And the missteps have come in rapid fire.
Right out of the box the President and his advisors got into a squabble over the number of people that attended the Inauguration. It was a meaningless spat but they continued to challenge anyone that suggested the numbers were not record setting. Anyone that looked at the photos could quickly ascertain that more people attended the 2009 Inauguration but that did not stop Trump and his minions from announcing they had more.
Sean Spicer has made so many mistakes that it would be difficult to count them. He has picked fights with the media when he did not need to get engaged with them. He seems to have forgotten the old adage about newspapers buying ink by the barrel. The same can be said today about the electronic media in that they are on 24 hours a day and can bury you.
Then you have Kellyanne Conway who day after day seems to engage her mouth before her brain. There was absolutely no excuse for her comments on Ivanka Trump’s clothing line while standing in the White House. She stumbled badly when she kept referring to a “Bowling Green” massacre when it was obvious she was referring to the terrorist arrested. But those errors keep coming and if she were a shortstop on a baseball team she would be riding the pine.
On Sunday Stephen Miller, the architect of the travel ban, took to the airwaves to defend the ban and actually did a good job of citing the actual statutory law and the section of the Constitution that gives the President the power over immigration and foreign policy only to allow himself to get dragged into another discussion on voter fraud. I believe there are isolated cases of voter fraud and we even saw a woman prosecuted for voting in Texas as a non-citizen. But it is not at the level that the President and his team keep insisting occurred.
As I mentioned earlier, President Obama believes he had the right policies but the message never got out. Hillary Clinton never got to any concise message in her campaign as she battled the email scandal and other gaffes the entire campaign. In the end her only message was to vote against Donald Trump. She never gave the voters a reason to vote for her. Trump, in the final two weeks, finally got a message out that spoke of jobs and a rebirth of American spirit, particularly in the Midwest.
So what it gets down to is the promises made and policies enacted by President Trump have the support of those that voted for him but the public relations efforts and media appearances of his team have allowed that support to be drowned out in the noise over mistakes and verbal gaffes. Saturday Night Live is having a field day with both the President and many of his key advisors. They harpoon them every week and over time this will begin to stick.
And when you couple all of these gaffes and factual errors with the President’s obsession with his Twitter account you have an administration that is not quite ready for prime time.