The Trump presidency isn’t going down in history as cookie-cutter, by-the-book leadership. He didn’t tear any pages out of the presidencies of great American leaders. Mr. Trump’s leadership style has an underworld flair to it. He’s the political Don who leads by intimidation. He celebrates his victories like a savior who carries a nationalistic torch instead of a cross. His racist edicts and personal contempt for immigrants created a war with families who only want to experience a better life. Children suffer and die trying to be part of the American dream. But Mr. Trump turned that dream into an American nightmare for them, according to American historians.
In his first two years in office, Trump rewrote presidential rules. He threw codes of good conduct out the presidential window, and he stepped on traditions that Americans cherish. Facts don’t mean much to Trump. Insults and personal attacks are his calling cards. White House Press briefings are now Twitter briefings. International Summits don’t appeal to Trump. World leaders know Trump is in it for the glory and the cash. And the nonpartisan institutions that keep the country sane make Trump angry when they go against his political agenda.
Mr. Trump’s Washington is not the same political battlefield it once was. According to Douglas Brinkley, a Rice University historian, Trump blew up the institution of the presidency. He’s not interested in handing off a smooth running government to the next president. His presidency is his key to success, and it unlocks a plethora of business opportunities.
Washington functions like a Trump Organization property now that Ivanka and husband Jared Kushner call some of the shots. Trump doesn’t want to fool with things like Middle East peace and European partnerships. He wants to control how the world does business. Trade has to be on his terms or there’s no deal. And in order to achieve his terms, people don’t matter. The art of the deal includes firing the people who have a different opinion and closing down the government in order to exert his power and to appease his voter base.
The president’s voter base loves his ruthless tactics and his chaotic mentality. His voters want him to be bad. Putin and Kim Jon Un-type bad. They want him to throw the condescending lawmakers to the wolves. They cheer when he disrespects leaders of other countries. Mr. Trump couldn’t care less about ethical behavior or the history of past presidents. His history comes from Fox News.