Some of my reports from Washington might be different from what you generally hear in the national media, so here it goes!
President Donald Trump has been doing very well. I didn’t vote for him, but I have to give him a lot of credit for his accomplishments over the last few weeks. Here are just a few:
1. Public administration experts are acknowledging that Trump has done a superb job of managing the hurricanes and other natural disasters we are experiencing. He sent his entire Cabinet out into the field. The president himself visited flood areas but kept out of the way. It is always dangerous for a president to go to a disaster area where he might get in the way of rescue work.
President Trump has done a lot of managing over the course of his career. Just getting all of the agreements from labor unions and local, state and federal governments to build some of his buildings would be a management nightmare for most people. But his worst critics are conceding that his management skills have come into play during these hurricanes. He has done a very good job of directing what flood relief programs we have under FEMA and elsewhere without micromanaging.
On Wednesday, Sept. 13, The New York Times ran a front-page story on how much better the current flood relief is than during previous natural disasters. However, the whole article did not once mention Trump’s leadership. That is unfortunate because I think it shows a bias against Trump.
2. The president scored a victory when he worked with the Democrats to resolve the debt-ceiling problem, and he has essentially reached an agreement with the Democrats on the “Dreamers” immigration issue.
3. Trump has appointed what is generally conceded by public administration experts as one of the most professionally competent Cabinets. He has a secretary of state in Rex Tillerson and a secretary of defense in James Mattis who are both doing a first-rate job. In addition, he has appointed people who are smarter than he, like Lisa Curtis of the National Security Council, who has a deep reputation for her knowledge on Asia, and Ty Cobb, who was on my staff, reputed as one of the finest lawyers in the nation. And this week, while I attended a breakfast at the U.S. Navy Memorial, I had the pleasure of hearing our new secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer, who gave a splendid speech on values in our military service. Unfortunately, some of his appointments, like Makan Delrahim, a very competent attorney who is slated to be the assistant attorney general for antitrust, have been held up by Democrats in the Senate.
4. Just two days ago, Trump had a rather dramatic meeting with the only Republican African-American senator, Tim Scott of South Carolina. Reports are that President Trump was very moved by Scott’s story of having been stopped by police seven times last year, based only on the fact that he is black. As a result of this meeting, many expect a major announcement soon on Trump’s original remarks on the Charlottesville tragedy. I would welcome this change of heart, but the point is that Trump is not afraid to try to openly learn while on the job.
By now, you might think I have been “brainwashed” by President Trump (a la George Romney/Lyndon Johnson — you have to be pretty old to remember that one)! I still don’t like some of his tweets and extraneous comments, but in the last three weeks, Trump has made real progress in becoming a successful president of the United States.
Several national publications have conceded that if Trump were to run the same race today he would probably win it by a wider margin. If his health remains good, I believe he will probably be re-elected in 2020 to another four-year term. (Some of this is due to the incompetence of the Democrats.)
Thus, eight years of Donald Trump is now becoming a realistic prospect.
Sen. Larry Pressler was a U.S. senator for 18 years and congressman for four years. He is a Rhodes Scholar, Harvard Law graduate and a Vietnam veteran.