Imagine Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States. Really.
Journalists and pundits have been too busy covering this election cycle like a boxing match (detailing debate punches and counterpunches and little else) and fawning over Trump as “The Donald.”
So the Big Questions (important but too boring in the Twitterverse in which horse-race polls and debate body blows are captured) just don’t get asked. Thus the Answers Needed never enter the mind of the electorate.
Who’d want to work for President Trump? Presidents need the Senate’s advice and consent on nearly 1,400 presidential appointments. Chief among them, of course, are the members of the president’s cabinet.
Who would Trump ask to serve as heads of State, Defense, Treasury, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Justice, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, Education, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs?
How would he select them? Would any be women? Or African-Americans? Or Hispanics? Or descendants of immigrants, legal or otherwise? Would he actually listen to the advice offered by Cabinet members?
He’s said he’d appoint business leaders to his cabinet. So a CEO instead of a physicist at Energy? A hedge fund tycoon at Labor? A coal-industry executive at Interior? A Big Pharma CEO at HHS? A for-profit college consortium boss at Education? Really?
Would President Trump have the mindset and intellectual acumen to oversee an executive branch employing more than four million people, including those in military service?
Trump, as a job creator, has been responsible for between 34,000 and 67,000 jobs (including multiplier effects), according to a CNN analysis.
Trump’s treatment of employees has been criticized. For example, CBS MoneyWatch reports Trump employees’ 401(k) plans are less than optimal compared with other companies. Bloomberg labeled them “stingy,” says CBS.
The federal government has sued Trump over racial bias.
His misogynistic treatment of women has played out on public stages.
The Economist, in its Feb. 20-27 edition, says Trump “has a healthy dislike of bureaucracy but not real experience of a big, complex organization.” His campaign reflects his sense of organization, the magazine says:
Just as his campaign is improvised, he appears to have a puny organization to support his business. The Trump organization has a dozen key executives, including Mr Trump’s three eldest children, Donald, Ivanka and Eric. Based on [Federal Election Commission] documents, the structure of the Trump organization is crude, with most of the legal vehicles owned directly by Mr Trump, rather than being grouped together.”
The Economist says Trump is an able negotiator but that the flip side of his charm and charisma contains “volatility, with explosive outbursts and unpredictable behavior.”
And remember: The British Parliament, motivated by a petition that described Trump’s comments about Muslims as “hate speech,” actually debated banning Trump. One member said Trump is “the son of a Scottish immigrant. And I apologize for that.”
Frankly, would the Senate be willing to even approve his Cabinet appointments? And those 1,400 other appointments? (Who’d get the IRS nod from Trump?)
As of this writing, only two members of Congress have endorsed Trump’s bid to be the GOP nominee (and those only in the last few days). By contrast, Sen. Marco Rubio has nearly 60 such endorsements. Congress is no fan of Donald Trump.
To date, only one sitting governor has endorsed Trump: his former opponent, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, did so this week. (Can you say Attorney General Christie? Secretary of State Christie?)
As Trump inches closer to being the party’s presidential nominee, Republicans fear he won’t back the conservative agenda pushed by Paul Ryan, the House speaker.
Trump is Frankenstein, writes neoconservative Robert Kagan, a foreign policy adviser to Republican presidential candidates. Kagan says this about Trump and his relationship with the GOP:
He is, rather, the party’s creation, its Frankenstein monster, brought to life by the party, fed by the party and now made strong enough to destroy its maker. Was it not the party’s wild obstructionism — the repeated threats to shut down the government over policy and legislative disagreements; the persistent call for nullification of Supreme Court decisions; the insistence that compromise was betrayal; the internal coups against party leaders who refused to join the general demolition — that taught Republican voters that government, institutions, political traditions, party leadership and even parties themselves were things to be overthrown, evaded, ignored, insulted, laughed at?
Under these circumstances, ask this: Who’d want to work in the administration of President Donald (“I love the poorly educated“) Trump?
Reasonable citizens of the republic should worry about the answer. According to a study conducted by a political scientist at the University of Massachusetts,
… Trump’s electoral strength — and his staying power — have been buoyed, above all, by Americans with authoritarian inclinations. And because of the prevalence of authoritarians in the American electorate, among Democrats as well as Republicans, it’s very possible that Trump’s fan base will continue to grow. [emphasis added]
Does this mean those who’d seek to sit in President Trump’s cabinet would be power-mad, whack-job oligarchs bent on revenging themselves against the effete liberal elite? Or you and me for simply existing?
I don’t know. But I wish this question — Who’d you appoint to your administration, Mr. Trump? — would be asked at every Trump rally.
But even it is asked, the questioner likely would be shouted down by those authoritarian supporters — egged on by Trump.
Yeah. Imagine President Trump.