I was just in Seattle, and the rumor there is that amazon.com will choose Toronto, Canada for its highly-sought after second headquarters, to poke the President in the eye for his immigration and trade policies.
I hope that won’t happen, but if it turns out to be true, it will be the latest in the list of counterproductive results from our President’s unfortunate words, tweets and actions.
A year ago, worried about the election, I wrote that we had a terrible choice. Separating the choice into a two part decision based on policy and personality, I decided that for me Hillary was a lose-lose, and Trump was a probable win-gamble.
So I took the gamble on his personality, and I now know that I lost that bet. He does not have the personality to be President of the United States.
He says, tweets and does things, particularly aimed at individual people and groups, that are embarrassing to all of us who value others as created in God’s image, respect our nation’s diversity, value civility, and try to practice servant leadership.
Take for example the “Dreamers”, those young people brought here by their parents who now have no other home. Yes, build a wall and tighten immigration rules. Yes, end chain-immigration, improve merit-based programs, and create a viable guest-worker program. Yes, crack down and deport criminals. But don’t ruin the lives of millions of innocents. And particularly don’t give the impression, as Trump does so well, that one day he cares deeply about them, and the next day he’s willing to hold them hostage to a political compromise.
Immigration is just one issue where Trump’s personality gets in the way and divides us instead of uniting us. I say that sadly as a conservative/libertarian who had hoped for better; and I’m in sync on most of his appointments, deregulations, and policy directions, at least until his personality leads him off track.
Back to that destructive personality. Unless he changes, he cannot lead more than a sliver of the nation on any major subject. He continually seizes defeat from the jaws of victory, attacking people who would gladly work with him if he would just be quiet, focus on the issues, work positively behind the scenes, and let others get some credit when good things happen.
It’s important to make a few clarifications about that personality:
- I don’t believe Trump is a racist, a bigot, a Russian collaborator, stupid or a moron. He is a precisely defined term: a productive narcissist. Click here, or look it up. He simply thinks only about himself, and so in different contexts and to different people he can appear to be any and all of the above. But it is really just all about him and his need to puff himself up, no matter the cost.
- While I am not a psychologist, I suspect that former President Bill Clinton has many of these same traits: the College Class President who never gets past needing the admiration of his peers and a constant affirmation of his legitimacy. I also suspect that his wife Hillary intervened, or continuously still intervenes, to tip his personality more toward the productive side and away from the destructive, even if her motivation is to be a productively narcissistic couple, rather than an individual. Keeping her husband on a relatively short leash and focusing him on getting things done may have been her greatest service to our nation.
- It is an absolute tragedy that Trump’s wounded personality plays perfectly into the narrative spun by the coastal elites, the mainstream media, and the Deep Staters that he is irrational, a bigot, etc., because they then expand this caricature to paint all conservatives with the same labels, writing off our ideas as products of a deranged mind. If only Trump were a calm, principled, behind-the-scenes conservative who cared about implementing sound policy more than demanding personal fealty, what could his Administration accomplish? But then I have to ask, would he have been elected?
- Knowing what I know now with the above revelations, given the terrible choice offered to us a year ago, I still would not have voted for Hillary. Why? Besides her policies, given Hillary’s actions since the election, and her new book, she also does not come across as the most stable possible Presidential personality. Let’s all be honest: we were given a really rotten choice last November. As imperfect as our President is, I know that his judicial appointments are generally right, and he won’t enact legislation or regulations to kill more unborn children.
There is a potential silver lining. A chance to modify the outcome. While policies can be in place forever (see The War On Poverty, Roe v. Wade, Deficit Spending, and countless others), I believe that people can change (see my own life, and countless others). Since Trump’s failings are largely personality based, there are at least three ways to change this Administration’s trajectory away from failure: an intervention, his resignation, and impeachment.
- Is there an individual or a group within his inner circle who sees the same future and can intervene to alter his behavior before the damage is irreparable? The First Lady, Melania, seems to be strong, secure in herself, and not trying to build a couple-cult, as Hillary did. Can she demand that he stop his rants, treat all people with genuine respect, and listen more than talk? And/or are his children capable of delivering that message in a way that will have a lasting result? Or a small group of his most trusted advisers, like Pence, Mattis, Tillerson and Kelly? Someone has got to lead the intervention, and soon. Start with a carrot, but don’t be afraid to invoke the fourth section of the 25th Amendment as the ultimate stick.
- If there is no intervention and he does not change, then can he be convinced that being President is not really best for his personal future, given the potential for a very negative outcome? Can he decide, with help, that he will be much better off turning over the messy details of running the Oval Office to a lesser person, like Vice-President Pence, while he returns to building his incredible empire and issuing daily policy tweets to his adoring base?
- Failing either of the above, what would it take to actually impeach him, and move Mike Pence into the Presidency?
Clearly, for many reasons, the first alternative is the best. In a strange way, could Melania learn from Hillary, and rein in her narcissist for the good of the country?
I am living proof that God is a transformer of imperfect men. So almost a year after his election, I am praying daily that God will intervene in our President’s life through exactly the right advisers to transform his approach to people and to issues. To become the true servant-leader of our entire nation. To value others more than self.