Can Trump Ever Be Presidential?

Can Trump Ever Be Presidential?

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

It continues to even more evident by the day that President Trump does not have the remotest idea how to appropriately lead the country. He is so caught up in himself, his image, the verity of everything that he does and says that he can never step back from a position of self-aggrandizement. It is not always that he is correct and better than everyone else; it is that everyone else is always wrong and no one’s opinions are ever more insightful that his.

This leads Trump to make some of the most absurd and outrageous statements imaginable which only his base continues to adore. The rest of the American people and certainly most countries cringe at his utterances—or tweets. Witness only his responses to the hurricane damage in Puerto Rico and the tragic Las Vegas shooting.

Thousands of people had their lives, property, and livelihood destroyed in Puerto Rico and Trump saw nothing wrong about using the moment to remind the Islanders of their serious financial debt crisis. People had no water to drink or gasoline to drive and he refused to focus on the need to just empathize with the people of Puerto Rico. Why bother? Trump knows that Latino-Americans overwhelmingly do not vote Republican.

Unfortunately, the President does not care about the GOP’s future.  Within the next decade or so unless Republicans learn how to reach the majority of Americans–who are now Black, Brown, and Yellow—they will disappear into history. (No ban on new immigrants by Trump will change America’s demographic profile.

Similarly, there is no way to avoid understanding how the tragedy that occurred in Las Vegas was not the result of the easy availability of assault guns and high-powered military weapons.  The fact that a very ill person was able to obtain an enormous cache of guns more easily than acquiring a driver’s license is unconscionable. It remains unthinkable that many fundamentally sound legislators and some Presidents continue to be unwilling to confront this reality.

The White House can dance around avoiding the issue “at this time” and Trump can—and even should—heap praise for the heroic efforts of the police and first responders, but that does not show leadership. Trump will not address the fact that this country persists in being one of the most violent democracies in the world, largely because of the readily available assortment of guns. No amounts of money from the NRA and its friends a consideration for a President to do the right things about guns. In Las Vegas today bemoaning the human tragedy must be coupled with a prescription for action. 

Trump needs to show—as Obama did after the Sandy Hook School shooting—that Trump is also a president who want to change America’s gun culture.  President Obama sadly failed to change the attitudes in Congress and the country to control guns.  Trump needs to challenge the NRA and all its supporters in Washington.  

President Trump needs to take command and take charge. Puerto Rico will eventually be re-built with government funds just like Texas and Florida because it is economically necessary, but the gun culture and gun violence will continue unless politicians are willing to take risks.

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