The President Has No Clothes

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The President Has No Clothes

Madoc Kimball, Staff Writer

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Donald Trump is no ordinary president. To even begin to attempt to describe the indelible mark Trump has already left on the American system of governance after only one year in office would be difficult, to say the least. The first president without either political or military experience, Trump instead entered the Republican primary as an unabashed firebrand, the purported master negotiator who would bring not only his own brilliant business savvy and rock star attitude but also his unapologetic desire to fight for the forgotten men and women of America. Critics of Trump have lambasted the President for his long list of gaffes, controversies, and inconsistencies, both as a candidate and  as President; they range from an innocuous morning ‘covfefe’ to allegations of sexual assault and collusion with a hostile foreign power.

To be fair, our current President was not a politician before entering office.“Rightly so!” many of his supporters would cheer. Trump does not bring with him the typical legal, political, and global know-how that has consistently plagued his long line of predecessors. To view Donald J. Trump’s many flaws through the lens of his prior role (a D-list business mogul presiding over a long and storied list of properties and brands, many of which he continues to profit from), and not as President of the United States, Commander in Chief, and de-facto leader of the free Western world, would be illogical. If my house is on fire, a squad of firemen are sent, not the New York Knicks. If I get in a car crash, I need a surgeon to save my life, not a celebrity chef. If in either of those situations I instead receive the latter party, they will find themselves unable to perform the necessary task and leave the both of us frustrated and unsatisfied (or in my case, dead).

In the same way, Donald Trump’s frequent inability to perform the basic functions of his new office, and his refusal to compose himself with the dignity befitting it, cannot simply be expunged by pointing to his inexperience or previous occupation. Citing a decreasing unemployment rate (which has been steadily dropping ever since Obama took office), or a booming stock market (which does not magically reset every time a President is sworn in), is not a way to measure the President’s success. The Republican tax cut, Trump’s only real ‘achievement’ by any metric of success, is the economic equivalent to a sugar rush and will only serve to add another 1.7 trillion USD to our deficit. In fact, the only thing Trump’s presidency has seemed decidedly good for, besides red trucker hats and Breitbart, is Bitcoin, which is up by over 1,500 percent.

As a private citizen, Donald Trump had every right to advise Robert Pattinson to leave Kristen Stewart, tell Michelle Malkin she was born stupid, or label global warming as a fictional concept created to benefit Chinese oligarchs, in the same way you or I hypothetically could as well. When Disney CEO Bob Iger wishes his followers a ‘happy, healthy, peaceful new year’, he has every right as a private citizen to do so. When in 2015 Trump referred to the Yemeni Al-Qaeda operatives who killed 12 people and injured 11 more in the Charlie Hebdo shooting as ‘morons’ who should ‘have just waited’ for the magazine to ‘fold’, this same right is afforded to him, despite the marked difference in message.

The office of the President, however, is a vessel that represents, affirms, and uplifts not only the American spirit, but its core values of equality, opportunity, and integrity. Using the office of the president as a personal soapbox to muse nuclear war against North Korea, beleaguer key allies such as Pakistan, Germany, and Mexico, prosecute political and ideological opponents, impede key investigations, or wage petty and dishonest war against the free press, is not only simply unheard of but also dangerous and irresponsible. Rampages against the fake news cannot be justified as self-defense, it is a degenerative assault against one of the few institutions that keeps American government honest and open. When Trump says something stupid (such as refer to third world countries wracked by war, natural disaster, and lack of foreign aid as ‘shithole(s)’, or literally call a nuclear dictator ‘short and fat’), it’s not only embarrassing, but also a major step back for America on the global stage. As foreign powers such as Canada, France, Germany, and China step in to fill the shoes left behind by Trump’s jingoistic and isolationist America, very real repercussions arise due to the President’s gleeful lack of tact or professionalism. When trivial infighting occurs between the various nepotistic and ideological factions within the White House in order to curry Trump’s favor, this isn’t the type of drama you can share around the water cooler. It’s representative of a troubling pattern of inefficacy and disorganization that seems to plague the people in charge of the most powerful nation in the world.

In Hans Christian Andersen’s short story ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ a duo of con men convince the titular monarch into parading about nakedly before the masses; the new clothes they have sewn him, they say, are only visible to those of adequate competence. Fearful of seeming foolish, those who cannot see these ‘new clothes’ (read: the entire kingdom, not excluding the emperor himself) pretend the Emperor is strutting about in the finest livery. The whole laughable affair comes crashing down when one confused child shouts out ‘But he hasn’t got any clothes!’; emboldened, the crowd takes up the cry. Too proud to feel ashamed or admit his wrongness, the emperor continues his procession anyway. In many ways, Trump is both the emperor and the con men, at once weirdly brilliant in his candidacy’s deception of the United States and now much too proud to admit his mistake in running.

 

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