Chaos and Incompetence

Conservative columnist David Brooks appears weekly on PBS Newshour as well as NPR to recount the week. Last Friday on PBS, he and Mark Shields discussed their concerns over our new President’s decision-making, unforced errors and fights that he has picked in his first eight days.

Yet, what caught my attention most was Brooks reference to how our President has conducted his Presidency. He said he has exhibited equal parts “chaos and incompetence.” I could not agree more. While I support the President since his success is tied to ours, I have a very low bar of expectations, which he has not met. And, I am not too optimistic at this point, given his difficulty in admitting any fault.

Management has not been his strength. He is a great salesman and merchandiser, yes, but manager, not so much. His executive order to block entry to people coming from seven countries has been total chaos and coupled with his torture comment makes America out to be a pariah in the eyes of others. Issuing an order should allow time to execute and include some instruction to make it effective as well as being vetted by various agencies. And, per Senator John McCain, it makes us less safer providing fuel to the ISIS fire.

Chaos and incompetence. Remember these words. Add them to the words lying and thin-skin. And, let’s pray that our President begins to learn a few lessons before he does even greater damage to our country and its reputation.

41 thoughts on “Chaos and Incompetence

      • I doubt that means much. He may be given the option to resign or be impeached. He will probably choose the latter. But I just can’t see him lasting out the calendar year! He pisses too many important people off.

      • David Brooks added to his concerns tonight. He looks weary from this as well. He mentioned how previous Republicans welcomed refugees as we were the best hope. Now, he said the message is one on menace and fear. We are showing our worst as a country. He added even with a more supported response with Iran, he does not exhibit trustworthiness to be a steady hand in a crisis. He said the hissy fit with the Australian PM embarassed a country that is a big supporter. He and Mark Shields repeated the chaos which is unproductive.

      • Roseylinn, I don’t think the country and planet can take four years of this man, much less eight. He makes me and others weary.

  1. Hugh, a dozen GOP legislators have spoken out and the reaction around the globe has been widespread and strong. His PR folks continue to blame the media, but that tactic has waned in effectiveness (and in my view has shown lack of substance). I would not be surprised if his media folks resign in the near future.

    Just because he pronounced it does not make it so – it takes some planning. Plus, it was made apparent, he did not vet his travel ban decision with various agencies. This should be a lesson for repealing and replacing the ACA. After the bad exchange roll-out, the administration is working much better. They need to improve on the ACA and leverage an infrastructure that exists.

    Thanks, Keith

  2. Perfectly put: Chaos and Incompetence! It is remarkable how much of this he produced and how many enemies he provoked within the first week of his presidency. Blocking people with a permission to stay in the US makes all look unstable. This is how the US look right now for us over here. You cannot rely on anything anymore. You better stay away … it breaks my heart to say this!

    • Erika, he fights with allies, trading partners, and the press. He chooses to waste his and our time over petty issues. Plus, he has sold his followers that we can retrench from our global role in trade and influence and that won’t have any effect on our economy and safety. It will have a huge negative impact and when our the predicted recession or malaise comes, it will be do to these reasons. And, most of all, which is not a surprise, he has a hard time telling the truth. Keith

      • Yes, he did not “lie” during his campaign because you could already see what you get! I hoped it was not but the horrible truth is that he really is that way and acts the way we were afraid of. A big spoiled kid with too much power in hands. When I heard about the countries he blocked I thought “I wonder how long it will take until there are more terroristic attacks than ever before!

      • Erika, to your point, his five biographers said on a couple of occasions during interviews, what you are seeing on the campaign is the real Trump. He is not going to change. Well, he hasn’t and we will be the ones suffering from it I believe. Keith

      • When this first week was over I thought: I wonder if he really will be president for the whole period. I believe that at some point he might be stopped!

  3. We certainly live in interesting times. Sometimes I agree with you regarding his probable shortened presidency, but other times I think that all bets are off in this age of alternative facts and with the lack of critical thinking skills among his followers. Btw, do you read John Pavlovitz’s blog (, I think it would resonate with you.

  4. Chaos and incompetence … almost an understatement after the past few days. I wish I could share your optimism that he “learns a few lessons”, but I don’t, because he has shown no inclination to listen to anybody other than those who pander to his every whim. Like Hugh, I love your “can’t shrink to greatness” quote!

    • Jill, I am really not that optimistic about his ability to change. The shrink to greatness is already underway with others issuing traveling bans. Plus, if we pose tariffs, it will inevitably start a tariff war, so trade will lessen. Both will affect commerce and both with affect jobs. Trade deals should always be evaluated and workers protected more than they are, but on the whole they tend to be value accretive, including NAFTA which has benefitted Texas, as well as the country. Lastly, trade helps with security, as someone will be less inclined to upset and apple cart. Keith

      • A tariff war, and who pays the price for that? WE do! I wonder sometimes if he is truly so stupid as to not understand how the economy works, or if he just doesn’t care. He keeps throwing out the baby with the bathwater, and pretty soon we will all be childless! Sigh.

      • Jill, complex issues and data driven analysis of what works and doesn’t, just doesn’t fit on a bumper sticker. The problem is he is governing off the bumper stickers. His followers are saying he is doing what he said he would – therein lies the problem. He is doing things based off oversimplified assessments and solutions. Plus, he is not getting more rational thinkers to vet solutions. Keith

      • I am amazed at the number who still say “give him time … he will become more reasonable” Seriously? If anything, he is becoming less rational with each passing day. I am almost afraid to get out of bed in the mornings, wondering what next.

      • Jill, when he selected Bannon and a few other advisors abs continued to tweet, he showed he was not prepared to change. Then, in his first two weeks, he has exhibited further irrational, chaotic and dangerous actions. He has missed badly on his chances, so his chance of changing is not a safe bet. Keith

  5. Dear Keith,

    DT’s incompetence and penchant for chaos cannot be overstated. Almost everything he is doing is counterproductive. For example, the banning of US sending contraceptives to poor countries will only increase infant mortality and abortions in these countries. Starting up the Keystone XL Pipeline and DAPL will cost US workers long-term jobs as it does not require many employees to maintain the pipelines. It is the truck drivers and train operators who will be losing business. Then there is the higher risk to the environment. Also, the order to reduce regulations at a 2 to 1 rate makes no sense. DT states that for every regulation created two ought to end. For example it would not be logical to create a regulation costing taxpayers $1 million dollars to end 2 regulations that cost the taxpayers only $100,000 or that will provide long term benefits in the millions of dollars.

    None of his actions have been well thought out. He is just acting in a way that he thinks will please his followers.

    Ciao, Gronda

    • Gronda, I agree much of what he has done has not been well thought or vetted. He is also giving too much weight to the counsel of Bannon, which will cause more errors of unconstitutionality and meanness. Keith

      • Gronda, he is listening to this extremist thinker more so than rational minds. That can only take us down a poor path. Since Trump is not very knowledgeable of global issues, he can easily be swayed. Did you notice how Theresa May led the press conference with Trump, when usually the lead is the host? Keith

  6. Note to Readers: With the judicial overturn of the travel ban as unconstitutional, it makes David Brooks’ additional remarks last night more interesting.

    He said Reagan faced a refugee crisis and welcomed them as we are the land of opportunity. With Trump it is of menace and fear. He also said with most policy statements, there are pros and cons. The travel ban has no pros. It does not solve any problem, we already had a significant vetting process and the terrorists are home grown converts or white supremacist groups. And, yet we have forsaken our ideals and made ourselves look poorly in the world with this ban. It was poorly conceived, poorly vetted and poorly executed.

  7. Hi Keith, I found a comment of yours on Anna’s Art in Sweden. Interesting what you say about environmental protection laws in the US. I am feeling compelled to write a post about my concerns over the environment re your current president. I would hope that environmental issues could be beyond party politics by now. Almost in the UK! Here in my Spanish backwater or woodland I do feel very depressed by this new style of politics in the USA and possibly UK. The planet and its living environment can’t be put on a fossil fuel back burner solutions are there and the political and global will needed.

    • Thanks for your comment. We are in danger of backtracking some here in the move to renewable energy. Fortunately, with the production price of renewables more on par, we are passed the tipping point. When the present value of all costs (production, environmental degradation, healthcare, maintenance and litigation) are compared, renewables are much cheaper. Then, there is the impact on our dear water resources which fossil fuel sources have.

      Denmark had to have buy-in from all parties on their long term plan. Being below sea level will do that. Good luck on your post. Keith

      • Interesting that market forces might make the difference! Yes, it is water resources which is key to everything. Perhaps Standing Rock is more symbolic than many may realise of the key to life on Earth. We had to check our water resources here in n Spain and at present because we are on the northern side we still get enough rain. Thanks for your comments.

      • In America, the global water crisis is not talked about by politicians, yet it is a ticking time bomb. To me, the best metaphor is in Saudi Arabia, Muslims are allowed to pray with sand instead of water as it is so dear.

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