I’ve been married almost 20 years. The number one thing I have learned is that the best fights are the ones you don’t have.
You just don’t go up to your wife and say, “Remember that time when you were so mad at me that you considered killing me in my sleep? I would like to talk about that again.”
That is known as an unforced error.
People who do that aren’t very happy or smart.
Donald Trump hasn’t been president for 20 years. I guess he is still in the honeymoon phase and has a few things to learn. He has been married for many years, and if the last few days are any indication, it isn’t hard to figure out why some of those didn’t end so well.
For some reason, President Trump has decided to praise tyrants and murderers from North Korea and the Philippines. I know he thinks he is playing chess and working some angle. I just don’t happen to agree that throwing away America’s moral high ground on human rights is a strategic move.
But Trump’s favorite America does seem to come from a time when we were far from the moral high ground on human rights.
In another unforced error, the president failed a junior high history test and overstated his own negotiating power, as well as those of another president in our country’s history.
Trump has spent the first 100 days of his presidency failing to make deals to keep campaign promises or making deals that fly in the face of promises made to conservative voters. Despite his less than auspicious start to his tenure, Trump seems to believe he could have hosted slave owners and abolitionists for some chocolate cake at Mar a Lago and avoided the Civil War.
Trump said in a recent interview that many people just don’t understand why there was a Civil War. However, he believes that the details could have been worked out. He just doesn’t understand why it happened. My guess is that Abraham Lincoln didn’t have enough Twitter followers to be effective. But again, that is just a guess.
Trump went on the say if Andrew Jackson had been there, it would have been different.
“I mean, had Andrew Jackson been a little later, you wouldn’t have had the Civil War,” Trump said in that interview. “He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart.”
As native of Oklahoma, most tribal members here aren’t as impressed with Jackson’s “big heart” that led to the Indian Removal Act and the Trail of Tears. But Trump doesn’t bog down his opinions with facts.
“He (Jackson) was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War,” Trump continued — adding gasoline to his dumpster fire comments. “There’s no reason for this. People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War — if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there a Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?”
Of course, Jackson had been dead about 15 years before the Civil War was fought. He hadn’t been president for about 10 years before his death.
Trump’s commentary is similar to someone talking about how Richard Nixon felt about ISIS. I bet Nixon would have prevented the 9/11 attacks. He hated radical Islamic terrorists.
That’s just crazy.
Those comments and a few others are why some liberal pundits have begun to wonder aloud about whether President Trump is losing his grip on reality through fatigue or other reasons.
I don’t think that is it at all.
Trump has been the big boss of a bunch of big companies for years. He has been surrounded by sycophants and “yes” men forever. When he was on the golf course or board room, everything he said was deemed as brilliant and inspired by those who hoped to bask in the glow of his golden adornments.
Unfortunately, as president, there are fewer free passes.
When you praise North Korea’s young despot, entertain a murderous dictator from the Philippines or praise the president who forcibly removed Native Americans from their land, the public isn’t as quick to overlook the lack of wisdom and nuance as your assistants are.
All Trump has to do to end a lot of his own struggles is to learn when to stop talking and tweeting. Even a showman needs to learn when to step out of the spotlight.
Maybe when his newlywed phase passes he will learn some tricks to avoiding unforced errors.
Kent Bush is publisher of Shawnee (Oklahoma) News-Star.