The president of the United States wakes up some mornings seemingly determined to convince as many people as possible that he’s unsuited to high office.

Fortunately for him, he has a Twitter account allowing him to act on this impulse immediately and without any filter.

On Wednesday, Trump retweeted three videos from an apparatchik of an extremist party in Britain purporting to show acts of violence by Muslims. One of them is reportedly a fake.

He followed up with a tweet calling for the firing of “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough on the basis of a noxious conspiracy theory. (A woman with a heart condition died in Scarborough’s district office when he was a congressman. Ever since, a kooky fringe has accused him of murder.)

It’s difficult to exaggerate how mind-blowing these tweets are.

If a friend on Facebook shared the fake Muslim video, you’d hesitate to credit any of his opinions going forward, let alone bestow on him the biggest megaphone on planet Earth.

If a candidate for town council called for an investigation of Scarborough for allegedly murdering one of his interns, you’d doubt his fitness to decide whether to approve a zoning permit for an Applebee’s, let alone to wield the world’s most fearsome nuclear arsenal.

Yet Trump’s presidency operates on a largely separate track than his Twitter feed and his other off-script interjections and pronouncements. His domestic policy is so conventional that it could have been cooked up by Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell — and, in fact, it was. He’s pursued a largely status quo foreign policy, except more cautious than Barack Obama’s and, especially, George W. Bush’s.

Amid the miasma of manufactured controversies, Trump’s presidency is, as Mark Twain is supposed to have said of Wagner’s music, “better than it sounds.”

A common criticism of Trump is that, via his attacks on offending journalistic outlets and jurists, he’s endangering the Constitution. He’s certainly violating norms of how a president should conduct himself and speak. But if you got news only of Trump’s official acts and knew nothing of his ongoing commentary, you’d think a rigorously rules-bound president occupied the White House.

The defining feature of Trump’s judicial nominees is a firm commitment to interpreting the Constitution and the laws as written. Trump has rolled back Obama administrative actions on immigration, the environment and health care that at best pushed the envelope of executive authority and at worst were frankly unconstitutional.

On the legislative front, Trump is getting closer to his first major victory, in pursuit of the stereotypical Republican policy goal of deficit-financed tax cuts.

In the real world, the economy is growing at a nice clip, and the stock market is humming along, showing no signs that it believes that the republic is about to be destroyed by a “Mad King.”

None of this is to suggest that Trump’s governing and his tweets are entirely distinguishable. Some of the tweets have had consequences, and, if nothing else, they are a dismaying window into his state of mind.

The firing of James Comey was a product of the kind of grievance Trump displays on Twitter, and he’s going to pay a price for it for a long time. Trump’s missives obsessively attacking CNN have created a pall over the Department of Justice’s suit to block the AT&T-Time Warner merger. The specter of the confrontation with North Korea playing out in insults over Twitter is unsettling, to say the least.

But the tweets don’t constitute the sum total of the administration. It’s possible that Trump sees Twitter — and his other provocations — as a way to stir the pot, entertain himself, stoke his base, flog his enemies and vent his frustrations separate and distinct from decisions of government, undertaken under the influence of, by and large, impressive, well-meaning advisers.

Trump’s presidency is much better than his Twitter feed. Although he stands ready and willing to convince you otherwise, 280 characters at a time.

Rich Lowry can be reached via e-mail: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com.

0
2
0
0
2

(37) comments

new2lax2

God asks Bush: "What do you believe in?"
Bush answers: "I believe in the free market, and the strong American nation!"
"Very well", says God. "Come sit to my right."
Next, God asks Obama: "What do you believe in?"
Obama answers: "I believe in the power of democracy, and equal rights for all."
"Good", says God. "You shall sit to my left."
Finally, God asks Trump: "What do you believe in?"
Trump answers: "I believe you're sitting in my chair."

oldhomey

new2too, do you think you could arrange to meet up with Buggs Raplin and give him a couple of lessons in irony, parody, political humor and how to write a funny piece of dialog? He fails miserably, and you, sir, are pretty danged funny.

ou812

Little stupid Timmy and even dumber Cassandra, everybody knows you two are completely worthless LOSERS!!!

Cassandra

Ou812 is clearly unable to make a cogent argument or add in any meaningful way to this discussion. Instead, she makes cranky comments like a child. How sad.

ou812

Cassie, here's a great idea, move to Canada... PLEASE!!!!!

Tim Russell

I doubt seriously that you have ever been responsible for coming up with s good idea.

Cassandra

Such a brilliant retort, Ou812. Let's talk after you graduate from grade school.

Cassandra

Please refer to my comment above.

johnnybragatti

Spots on.
Try flying outta Heathrow...and anyone knows you"re a Yankee(American),
the embarrassment has been surpassed by acute humiliation.

kingman10

The question should be is Trump presidency as good as promised, or should be? Promised better comprehensive healthcare for a lower cost. Promised a tax bill that would NOT cut taxes for the rich, just for the middle class and corporations. Promised an administration that would not be corrupt. Put his own inexperienced kids in high government positions. Promised not to take any or very few vacations. Promised better trade deals with China and others. None of these and more have not come to pass, and it looks like they probably never will. The economy is still riding high from the Obama years since Trump and the repubs have done nothing to stimulate the economy.

PhysicsIsFun

He also promised to cut the price of prescription drugs. He dropped that idea after one conversation with pharmaceutical executives. They probably complemented him on his brilliance, . Trump is a joke and a liar. He is the most corrupt, unqualified, and inappropriate person to ever be president, That sure says a lot about he Republican Party.

new2Lax

Don't you just love him. It says, they got their man elected. Just think, it could have been Hillary.

TenRing

kingman10, you prove with your avatar that you are even dumber than the Republicans supposedly are in that "quote" by Trump. A ten second search would have shown you it's a fake.

https://www.snopes.com/1998-trump-people-quote/

Just reading it without a search should have raised suspicions, especially since Trump looks much younger than he did in 1998 and FNC had barely started at that time. Shows how dumb you are. I guess that's to be expected of someone who fell for Zerobama's lies.

kingman10

to quote a famous quote by someone we all know: snopes cleans my toilets! But to keep you entertained tenring I will soon look for another stirring avatar. The quote may not have been by Trump, but it rings so true, hits the nail on the head perfectly!

Tim Russell

Did you like snopes take on the Uranium One deal as well?

TenRing

I prefer the truth in Peter Schweizer's "Clinton Cash."

oldhomey

Does that mean you don't believe Politifact, too, TenRing?

oldhomey

Right, Rich Lowry. He says: "Trump’s presidency is much better than his Twitter feed. Although he stands ready and willing to convince you otherwise, 280 characters at a time."

But Lowry, who serves as columnist at the pleasure of the Koch brothers and the usual American Chamber of Commerce-business-is-paramount-to-all-else types, has been earning his keep for the last year or more reminding us how loony and dangerous Trump is. All that is true, but it is also the official line of business Republicans. For the time being, however, all that counts is getting the tax re-write across the goal line, so it is best to shower the man/boy president with faint praise. Once they get their tax breaks, Trump will perhaps be more vulnerable to a Republican coup after the business types take stock and store up evidence to be used to move the man out of office. However, if tens of millions of people lose social safety nets and healthcare insurance in the next year -- and it appears they will -- the businessman/Republicans will be more vulnerable than Trump himself, perhaps, as hey have to face irate constituencies as the floor falls out from under them.

new2Lax


All you need do is, check your investment account or maybe see how the working kids are doing in theirs. Will you and your working children be, paying less in Federal taxes, has the GDP finally reached a 3% level, hasn't in the past eight years, is unemployment the lowest in 17 years, is illegal immigration substantially down, is home ownership up, are fewer folks on food stamps. This is a good start but after repatriation of foreign funds will be monumental in helping sustain this economy. Just think how good it would have been with the support of the Koch Brothers. To me, the things I mentioned seem to be a positive, I guess you see it differently and that's why your a Democrat.

Tim Russell

Why do you believe everyone has enough money to start an investment account?

new2Lax


Where did you see the word everyone. I was referring to those who do have an account, 401k, stock, options, savings investments and for those who do not I would ask, are you still receiving your assistance, are you still not going to be paying Federal Taxes, are their fewer of you on Food Stamps, are more of you owning a home, are there less illegals lowering your wages and taking your jobs, has the country finally reached a GDP growth exceeding 3%, is unemployment at a 17 year low, will you still be getting a refund even though you paid no Federal tax.

Tim Russell

Well just so you know, only 43% of Americans own Stocks. Also,just so youknow, the Top 20% in wealth own 92% of the Stocks. Boot licker.

new2Lax

You can't get millennials to save, baby boomers 48% and that is up as well.

PhysicsIsFun

And this stupid comment is why YOU"RE a Republican.

kingman10

so the economy is doing so good. Then tell me why is it necessary to pass a tax stimulus.? If the economy is so good why not pay down the debt? Why pass a tax bill that is deficit driven in these great economic times? Could it be its just pay back time for the big donors to the repubs? Time to reward the top 1% for backing the party in power. I thought government was suppose to be of, for and by the people, all the people. Silly me.

oldhomey

I think, new2, there are more people in the U.S. making less than $75,000 a year than there are making more than that. It is pretty tough saving for retirement for the majority. Heck, it is hard to protect your family with health insurance and will be even harder as the GOP tax plan torpedoes Obamacare. The chickens will come home to roost at some point.

new2Lax

You are correct, health care is unaffordable.

oldhomey

At the outset of Obamacare, it was, new2. It was the beginning of a record number and percentage of Americans blessed with health insurance, a situation that continues to this day, even though the GOP has done its best to torpedo it with a series of actions designed to jack up the prices. There was a popular song at the end of World War I about the American doughboys returning from the fight in France, "How You Going to Keep Them Down on the Farm After They've Seen Paree?" That is roughly the equivalent to the idea of millions of people finally getting insured under Obamacare, and they ain't going to accept a world without having it anymore, so Obamacare will haunt the GOP for the next decade, at least.

oldhomey

Sorry, at the outset of Obamacare, it WAS affordable, new2.

The Mouse of Death

[angry]The Donald is not a Dennis Hastert Milo pedo like a Roy Moore because in Alabama it is part of the culture, really, so all you libs hate on Alabama with a banjo on your knee like Mark Foley for we are indeed bemezzled by Manafort and the Kremlins in Washington and the Moscow with the General Flynn and the pussycat grabber Billy Bush with the Obamacare and the Carter Page with me too, me too, me too in Charlottesville panzers from the Third Reich of David Duke

johnnybragatti

King Tut was a whole lot better

Frangel45

Rich, you are really out of touch with reality. trump is a disgrace around the world. He is creating a 3rd world country as he is allowing to make peons of the majority of our citizens while they become the feudal lords. Yes, you are really out of touch and shouldn't be allowed to print your lunacy.

new2Lax

You really don't notice it by what 401K's, Investments, stock market are showing, not to mention the GDP exceeding 3% and hasn't been there in the past eight year,lowest unemployment rate in 17 years, rise in home ownership, fewer people on food stamps, illegal immigration reduced by over 50% and that's without the wall. Now with the tax reform bill being passed, look for trillions to return from foreign investments, lower tax rates. Should I go on. You aren't out of touch, you have been in a coma. I'm almost sick of winning. You obviously do not have a 401k or invested in the market or you should fire your financial advisor and then move to a real 3rd world country. The 50% not paying taxes can't be peons, the next 20% are middle class and will be paying less with a std. deduction doubled with a lower tax rate and the rest are just rich, don't worry about them. So far you have not convinced me.

Tim Russell

O one can convince a boot licker that shoe polish tastes bad.

Cassandra

Enjoy your higher taxes, New2!

Cassandra

It's not as bad as it sounds, it's worse.

Clarification

Nice trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Trump is a pig and, at best, a very small man you wouldn't want around your daughter.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access for the month.

Now it's time to activate or sign up for unlimited access!

Thank you for signing up!

We have not been able to find your subscription.

Current Subscriber?

Current Subscriber?

Or

Don't have a subscription?