It is no secret that President Trump dispenses lies with reckless abandon. This fact is not in dispute. It is also no secret that Trump has displayed a great number of moral failings and poverty of character during his campaign. Even swing voters who reluctantly voted for the President agree on that point.
But beyond the dishonesty and revolting personal conduct, we’re now witnessing a young presidency coming to grips with the realities that many of us shouted about during the interminable sales pitch of 2015-16.
The President’s mounting flips motivated CNN’s Anderson Cooper to start his show Wednesday night with a classic lead: “Welcome to AC 360, and Donald Trump 180.”
But well beyond Trump’s being forced to reckon with the realities of the world we live in when it comes to things he has direct power over, the President has also run head first into the U.S. Constitution and a separated-branch government on many other of his silly promises.
Trump promised to repeal Obamacare on Day 1 — even if it took a special session of Congress. There was no special session of Congress. And when Trump did try to repeal it in Congress, where his party controls both chambers, it turned into such a debacle that it didn’t even make it to a floor vote in the House. Score one for the legislative branch. Checks and balances. Reality.
Trump passionately criticized former presidents for taking military action in the Middle East. “America First.” Right up until last week, when he took military action in the Middle East.
The realities of the presidency — and the world — have the power to sober up any resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. While perhaps we haven’t seen any person as scary as Trump before in the big chair, it is at least a small measure of relief to observe him having to deal with cold hard facts that can’t escape the light of day.
In the context of all of the recent decisions that Trump has been confronting on the international relations stage, this week the Washington Post’s David Ignatius reminded Americans that “this man was radically unprepared to be the President.” Even after the election, a majority of us already agreed with Ignatius.
Perhaps Trump did, too. For we never truly know what the President means and what he doesn’t mean. We don’t always know what he’s intentionally lying about and what he is just plain ignorant about. But either way, like all Presidents, this one is being fed a very powerful dose of reality.
We can only hope that rather than being embittered or embarrassed by his early failures (the latter may not be possible), instead, Donald Trump may be learning. Technically, it is possible.