7 Recent Mishaps That Reflect the Distance Between Trump and Reality

To President Donald Trump, critical news accounts are fake news and most political defeats are due to Democratic obstructionism. But an examination of seven mishaps over a few days shows the contrast between his view of events and the reality that often exemplifies his underlying problems.1. The Ronny Jackson nomination fiasco. In the latest poster child for inept White House handling of nominations, the White House physician was picked to manage the sprawling Department of Veterans Affairs because Trump liked how Jackson presented his glowing medical report. While some allegations against Jackson appear exaggerated or untrue, Senate Republicans apparently acquiesced to Democratic Sen. John Tester's accusations about drinking and handling of prescriptions to convince Jackson to withdraw. Trump is accusing Tester of "slander" and demanding he resign. But the basic problem was insufficient vetting of an unqualified nominee.2. The third federal court decision blocking Trump's order to end DACA. In this case, a Republican judicial nominee, Judge John Bates, not only blocked the administration from terminating the Deferred Arrivals for Childhood Arrivals program, but said it must accept new enrollees. To implement campaign pledges to curb immigration, Trump created this fight by ending President Barack Obama's program protecting thousands of young people brought in illegally by their parents. Most of those kids are now grown up and gainfully employed, in school or in the military. Trump resisted a legislative compromise and then blamed the Democrats.3. Congress probes EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's flouting of ethics rules. From over-spending on first class travel, boutique hotels and excessive security to his questionable condo rental deal with a lobbyist, Pruitt may be the worst of several top officials ignoring ethical rules. Trump says Pruitt has done "a fantastic job" at the Environmental Protection Agency, ignoring his ethical problems because Trump likes the policies he is implementing. It's unsurprising that Trump is protecting multiple officials with ethical issues in his administration, since he set the example by benefiting personally from his own travel and the many Republican meetings at Trump properties.4. HUD Secretary Ben Carson proposal of new rules raising rents for public housing. The administration contends it is implementing renewed welfare reforms by increasing work requirements for recipients of various programs, including those in federal housing projects. But Carson's announcement at the Department of Housing and Urban Development was, in fact, the latest move to weaken the social safety net maintained by administrations of both parties. Undercutting programs ranging from housing subsidies to the Affordable Care Act that provide benefits for many poor and middle-class Americans contrasts with championing a tax cut law that even some Republicans acknowledge primarily benefits the wealthy.5. French President Emmanuel Macron's visit. Trump welcomed Macron to the White House for a day of touchy-feely amity, declaring the two had "great meetings." But a day later, he was silent after the French president delivered before Congress what sounded like a direct challenge to Trump's America First strategy, sketching a world view stressing the importance of continued U.S. global leadership and adherence to the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate control pact. The degree to which Trump is out of step with U.S. allies was shown two days later when German Chancellor Angela Merkel delivered a similar, lower key challenge. But Trump campaigned on those issues and gives no sign of heeding either European leader.6. Supreme Court indication it will approve administration travel ban. The hearing on the administration's ban on travelers from mainly Muslim countries indicated the likelihood of a rare administration success. But while this pleases Trump's political base, it has angered Muslims, Hispanics and others.7. Political judgments. "Trump's Triumphs are driving his critics Crazy," Trump tweeted last weekend, hailing an unnamed poll showing his job approval rating higher than Obama's. Earlier, he accused the media of ignoring the GOP's "big win" in an Arizona congressional race and gave himself an A-plus when asked on Fox News Channel's "Fox and Friends" to grade himself. But the widely watched Gallup Poll shows Trump's approval 12 points lower than Obama's at a comparable time, the Arizona result illustrated anti-Trump sentiment causing the same GOP vote falloff as in prior congressional and legislative elections, and top Republicans say openly they may lose not only the House but the Senate.That all happened last week, showing that what Trump calls "fake news" is mostly "bad news" for him and his presidency.Carl P. Leubsdorf is the former Washington bureau chief of The Dallas Morning News and a frequent contributor. Email: carl.p.leubsdorf@gmail.comWhat's your view?Got an opinion about this issue? Send a letter to the editor, and you just might get published.  Continue reading...

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