In two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Bob Woodward’s book “Fear” which is based on 750 hours of interviews with White House staff, the impetuous and impulsive nature of the president is well documented. This nature is echoed in other books and by White House reporters.
History reveals this flaw of the president’s as he often changes his mind, sometimes within the hour or the next day. There are examples when he has refuted his first argument by the end of one of his stream-of-consciousness rants.
There is a line from the song “One Week” by Bare Naked Ladies that seems apropos to this president. It appears twice (although the second line varies some) in the song about a couple fighting and the motions they go through before they make-up. Many people call the song “Two weeks” as a line says it is “still two weeks til we say we’re sorry.”
The song line that reminds me of the impetuous and impulsive president is:
“I have the tendancy to wear my mind on my sleeve
I have a history of losing my shirt”
The examples are in the hundreds, but he did it again at the end of last week. On Thursday, he talked about a plan to reopen the economy, spoke respectfully (as much as he can) of governors, and came a little closer to being presidential, whether you agreed with his policy or not.
By the next day, he leaped on the extreme members of his tribe who were protesting the shelter-in-place laws in various states encouraging them. Some noted he is fomenting a rebellious attitude. So, he took a step forward up the slide and then slipped back down. Trying to walk up a slide to leadership, then sliding back down, is a good metaphor for the president.
The book “Fear” speaks of the advantage of being the last person to speak with Trump about an issue. If done in a flattering way, he will respond better and could be led down the path you want. He is also keen on parroting what he sees on the opinion shows on Fox News, sometimes within minutes. In the above example, since he thinks first of making himself look good, he seized on the rebellious folks as a good storyline.
Many things trouble me about this president. He wants to come across as a leader, but the idea of him actually acting liking a leader is not second nature to him. He could have been more like the leader we need in January and February by speaking candidly with Americans about the pandemic risk and setting in motion some planning efforts. Instead, he returned to form and lied. Lying is second nature to Donald J. Trump, leadership is not.
What I have witnessed about Trump, is his underlying nature will not change. His actions will change if the press or optics are poor and he cannot alter them. He cannot alter people getting sick and dying. So, his “new shirt” has him saying he never said the things he did and it is WHO and China’s fault. Yes, the latter could have done better. But, so could you, Mr. Trump. So, could his sycophants who keep giving him clean shirts with white-washed messages.