Every president before Donald Trump – certainly, every president in living memory and many before him – has been somewhat predictable. This is because every previous president has identified with a political ideology, unlike Trump. This is not to say that the current president is totally unpredictable; it is simply that his words and actions cannot be foreseen until one understands what drives him.
For both his critics and his political opponents, attempting to forecast Donald J. Trump has become an almost infuriating task. On the other hand, his staunchest supporters don’t really care whether they can figure out where he’s going; they just love what he’s doing and that’s good enough.
A lot of Trump’s presidency, so far, has been defined by a simple rule: Wait and see. It is a phrase that frequently crops up, where Trump is concerned. It is not that Trump doesn’t know what he wants to achieve; he does know, but he’s willing to change course, at any time, to achieve it.
Trump doesn’t think in terms of conservatism, liberalism, progressivism or any other political “ism.” He thinks in terms of business and commerce, but he also thinks as a patriot. Mostly, he operates like a businessman — in terms of results. Quite likely, he sees himself – in his current reincarnation as president – as the man who was hired by a huge, but reeling, corporation to right the ship. He is the fixer. The share price is plummeting; competitors are circling like vultures and the shareholders – the American people – are close to demanding the resignation of the entire board of directors. In addition to all that, bankruptcy is looming, and someone has been selling the company’s secrets to rivals.
These are all problems that Trump was brought on board to fix. He didn’t come up through the ranks of the company, so he doesn’t much care if the company doesn’t like his methods and he’s not fiercely loyal to any one of the various boardroom cabals. He is just here to be the fixer-in-chief.
Donald Trump’s goals, in terms of this analogy, are straightforward – if not simple. He seeks to improve efficiency, boost the bottom line, and give shareholders a worthwhile return on their investment. Ultimately, he needs to restore the company’s former status as the leader in its field, always ahead of the competition.
How does he achieve all this? Wait and see. It doesn’t necessarily imply that he doesn’t know – although he’s clearly unfamiliar with the way the company operates. Sometimes, it means that he is not willing to give competitors the chance to anticipate his moves. Keep them guessing. Keep them off-balance.
Wait and See
In the last weeks of his own presidency, Barack Obama told a press conference that the world would have to “take a wait and see approach” to Trump’s leadership. As The Donald prepared for his inauguration, Pope Francis – when asked to give his opinion on the new leader – said: “I think that we must wait and see.”
In June, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen was asked to share her observations on economic confidence in this new age of Trump. According to U.S. News & World Report, “[Yellen] said she sees more of a ‘wait-and-see attitude’.” These three little words have been uttered on numerous other occasions, regarding the Trump agenda.
Tensions between the United States and North Korea have escalated sharply, over recent months. When the President threatened to respond to North Korean aggression with “fire and fury,” the American media, to say nothing of the rest of the world, sat bolt upright. Is the most powerful nation on earth lurching towards a devastating war with the most belligerent dictatorship on earth? Trump recently gathered some of the nation’s top military brass at a White House dinner. As the group posed for photographs, President Trump told reporters “Maybe it’s the calm before the storm.”White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was soon, predictably, faced with the fallout. When queried about the president’s enigmatic remark, she continued the now-familiar refrain.
As we’ve said many times before, I know the president has — as I have said from this podium on quite a few occasions — never going to say in advance what the president is going to do, and as he said last night in addition to those comments, you’ll have to wait and see.
The wait-and-seeism of it all is driving many journalists and members of Congress too distraction. Trump is not going to start a war unless he does so as a preemptive strike in the face of imminent attack. Wars cost lives and money. They don’t fit his goals as the fixer.
Now that the president has taken up his predecessor’s pen and phone to cut through what is left of Obamacare, how far will he go without Congress? What tax reform will he eventually sign? How will he handle the United Nations Security Council as the Iran nuclear deal teeters on the brink? Has he just sent a nuclear submarine, the USS Michigan, to the Korean Peninsula to show Rocket Man what real rockets look like? What, ultimately, will Trump’s America look like, three years from now, or seven?
It’s going to be an interesting adventure…and it’s more than likely we will just have to wait and see.
Click here to see Graham Noble discuss this story on LN TV.