Jonathon Van Maren

From the front lines of the culture wars


Making sense of Trump: 10 things every pro-lifer needs to know

Is Trump 'God's wrecking ball?'
Mon May 22, 2017 - 2:15 pm EST
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May 22, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The last several weeks of the Trump presidency have been, to say the very least, exhausting to keep track of — I can’t even imagine the levels of despair and hopelessness felt by White House staffers trying to keep up. The campaign was frenetic enough, but the day-by-day, hour-by-hour media scream-a-thon version of piranhas-on-the-president is politics at warp speed. The media accuses, Trump flails back angrily, staffers leak their side of the story, Trump contradicts them, and then the entire circus starts over the following morning. I was no fan of Trump throughout the campaign season, for reasons of character that are now manifesting themselves as a bigger deal than people at first thought. To try and sort out my conflicting thoughts on Trump’s tenure thus far, here are 10 observations that may provide food for thought.

  1. Donald Trump is not a stupid man, even though he is currently attempting to give every indication to the contrary. He’s just discovering that the skills that served him so well in the real estate market and subsequently in turning himself into a household-name celebrity aren’t nearly as useful as he presumed they were in the day-to-day slog of governing. Just as his immediate connection to millions of people via social media was a boon during his campaign but a liability as president of the United States, when every word uttered potentially holds tremendous global significance, the transition from Campaign Trump to President Trump hasn’t happened. As it turns out, there is only one Trump, and evolving isn’t his thing.

  2. The fact that Trump is Trump has sort of placed most of his hardcore supporters in a tough place. During the campaign, they promised that every tweet and every inflammatory statement was a carefully plotted strategic move. It’s now clear that this is not the case: Trump simply says what he wants, when he wants. That’s the new pattern: Trump commits some sort of ignorant bungle. The White House staff scrambles to explain, deny, and defend said bungle. Then Trump emerges, ignores their PR work entirely, and explains that he’s the president and can do whatever he wants.

  3. In regard to the relentless pack of dogs that is the media, harrying and nipping Trump incessantly, two things are true: Yes, they are trying to take Donald Trump down. And secondly, he’s making it as easy for them as he possibly can. He fires the FBI director investigating him because he’s irritated without telling his staff because he’s afraid of leaks. He creates a White House culture that is almost entirely based on leaks because the media are how Trump gets his information, so his staffers feel that talking to the press is the only way to reach him. After his staff scrambles to cover for his most recent gaffe, he promptly does his own media interview contradicting the official White House line — and doesn’t seem to care. I don’t think there’s any smoking gun evidence that Trump collaborated with the Russians, because I think it’s extraordinarily unlikely that he did. But Trump certainly seems determined to create a whole lot of smoke, allowing the media to continue their yowling about an illegitimate election and an illegitimate president.

  4. It is difficult for many conservatives to know how to respond to Trump’s war with the media, especially considering that many of the media’s criticisms are now accurate. The media, which bankrupted any remaining credibility it had after attempting to blatantly side with Hillary with the Election Night meltdown, is suffering from the Boy Who Cried Wolf Syndrome: Everything they say about Trump triggers the immediate “well, of course you guys would say that” response from Trump’s supporters, and even if the media aren’t wrong, his supporters aren’t necessarily wrong, either. The result is a scenario in which it’s very difficult to know where to get unbiased information. The media that tried to defeat Trump are now trying to topple him, but that doesn’t mean all their info is inaccurate. The alternative media — like Breitbart — that tried to elect him is now willing to cover for him no matter what. That’s not helpful, either. So those of us trying to understand each new story pick our way across a corpse-littered media minefield, looking for answers.

  5. The “double standard” game is very tiring. Trump gave classified information to — and of course he did — the Russians, information that the U.S. received from the Israelis? Well, Obama did that too! Not to mention — are all you Hillary supporters really going to suddenly care about where classified information ends up? Now, all of that is true, but also proves that principle has completely given way to pragmatism. Your guy did it, now our guy did it, and that’s just the way the game works. We bludgeon each other for hypocrisy, we just take our turn.

  6. Christians have certainly received some good news out of the Trump administration: A sweeping reinstatement of the Mexico City Policy banning abortion overseas that goes further than any other Republican president, the repealing of Obama’s transgender directive, his raising the profile of the National March for Life, and his appointing of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and other pro-life appointments. But the presence of enormously influential progressives like Jared and Ivanka Kushner have ensured that Christians have faced some blistering disappointments, too — especially the Religious Liberty Executive Order, which did absolutely nothing to promote religious liberty. In the White House battle between Mike Pence and the so-cons and the Kushners and their entourage, the liberals won definitively, even prompting The Daily Caller of all places to highlight Trump as the best president the LGBTQ community could have asked for. We can hope for good judicial appointments, but Trump isn’t going to help Christians targeted by what even Bill Maher called “the gay mafia.”

  7. Which brings me back — again — to the main reason Christians voted for Trump in the first place: the fact that he is not Hillary Clinton, which means that even his bungling is better than what would have been Hillary’s four to eight years of relentlessly cementing the progressive Reconstruction of America that Barack Obama began. Has Donald Trump’s presidency thus far been a disaster? It’s pretty hard to argue that it hasn’t been. Sure, it’s a combination of the fact that half the country has mobilized against him and the fact that he’s a thin-skinned narcissist who can’t help but respond to attacks on him, but nonetheless, when even the author of the book “In Trump We Trust” Ann Coulter is voicing her doubts, things aren’t looking great. And that’s why the only thing that makes me feel slightly better about Trump’s Twitter feed is taking a jaunt over to Hillary’s and reading what could have been.

  8. Those who argued that “character doesn’t matter” are getting an up-close look at what happens when a man of very deficient character becomes president of the United States. Most of Trump’s problems are entirely self-inflicted — even after winning the presidency and forcing all of his political and pundit enemies to eat the biggest, ugliest crow possible, beak, wings, claws and all — he still cannot help but explode at the criticism directed his way. His staff consistently holds interventions to try and talk him out of his round-the-clock tweeting and ad hoc statements, and he often refuses. His behavior is, to put it bluntly, infantile. It’s hard to fathom anyone else who would be so willing to destroy his own administration by simply refusing to take advice from those hired to protect him.

  9. Christians need to stop defending Trump when what he does is stupid and indefensible. Sure, defend him when the media are simply trying to create a story where none exists — like their breaking news expose that Trump takes two scoops of ice cream at dinner where others receive merely one — but don’t defend him simply because he’s Trump and he’s a Republican. Conservatives should not join cults of personality, and some of the defenses of Trump have been worrisome, while others seem to be based on the premise that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Principles are still more important than pragmatism.

  10. Has anyone heard what Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry are up to? While everyone is busy trying to find photos of Trump and Putin spooning, perhaps the conservatives Trump hired to reduce and restructure the federal government are actually doing their job. Trump has a lot of good people on his team that have vanished from the headlines since they were sworn in, and it’d be interesting to know what they’ve been doing in the meantime.

Trump is Trump, and it appears that this presidency is going to be a crazy ride. Understanding it and writing about it isn’t going to be very easy, either. In an interview earlier this week, the writer and social critic Os Guinness told me that he believes Donald Trump is “God’s wrecking ball.” He’s certainly a wrecking ball, anyhow. Time will tell what sort he is.

  donald trump, media, president

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