SHABAZZ: The turmoil that is Donald Trump

June 10, 2017

While I have never been a Donald Trump supporter, I do not want him to fail as president.

If he fails, the country fails, and that’s not good for anyone. With that said, Trump’s biggest enemy is not the media, the Democrats or the D.C. swamp, aka the establishment; it’s Donald Trump.

I base this conclusion on the last 25 years of my life as a reporter, spokesman for an elected official, attorney and political commentator.

First, there are the “anonymous sources” the president and his supporters rail against frequently. It’s been my experience that politicians usually complain about anonymous sources only when the sources don’t reiterate the narrative they’re trying to push. I write a publication called “The Cheat Sheet.” It’s a political newsletter filled with “gossip, rumor and blatant innuendo” based on anonymous sources. The only time elected officials ever complain about what’s in it is when they don’t look good. When they look smart or like the front-runner in a political contest, they or their staffs push it out to their friends. And by the way, 99 percent of the leaks come from either the administration or people close to them.

Second, as a spokesperson, it’s understood that you are promoting a position your boss supports and advocates. It doesn’t help when the boss comes out and contradicts everything you’ve been trying to sell to the media to get positive coverage. At best, it makes you look incompetent. At worst, you look like a liar and no one trusts what you have to say, and it undermines the credibility and relationships you have worked hard to build.

Third, and most important, Trump is undermining the agenda his administration is trying to push. I think the president is on the right track by trying to streamline the federal regulatory scheme, give more choices to parents with regard to their children’s education, give states more control when it comes to health care, and simplify the tax code. But all that gets lost when your boss is on Twitter talking crazy. You are caught in the unenviable position of having to defend what he or she said instead of pushing policy positions you think are good for the public.

Now, is the impeachment talk premature? I would say yes. But is the groundwork being laid for a constitutional crisis? Yes. And if things go south, the person who is ultimately responsible is Trump himself. It’s not the media. It’s not the staff. It’s not the swamp. It’s Trump. He, of all people, should know this. And the fact that he is either unwilling or unable to figure this out says quite a bit.

While it’s not too late to turn the ship of state around, I recommend the folks who hang out at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. do an intervention real soon or start turning in their letters of resignation. They owe it to themselves and, more important, to the rest of us.

Oh, and before I forget, when Trump and his supporters say he’s been treated worse than any other president in history, they might want to look up what happened to Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley and John F. Kennedy. I think they had it somewhat worse than the real estate developer from New York.•


Shabazz is an attorney, radio talk show host and political commentator, college professor and stand-up comedian. Send comments to ibjedit@ibj.com.


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