The Other Side of Donald Trump
Why we need to look forwards instead of backwards
January 19, 2017
Filed under Opinion
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I will admit, I was more than a little distressed, and more than a little frustrated when Donald Trump won the presidential election. Like many Americans, I believed Trump was unqualified and unsuited to be our president. I actually still believe that. However, our country is stuck with him as our leader for four years, and we need to just accept that. Yes, he is far from the ideal president, but honestly, Clinton would not have been great either. He will make mistakes like every other president, and hopefully, he’ll make decent contributions to our country as well. I agree that many of the things he says and does (and tweets) are ridiculous and a bit unnerving, but now that the election is over, we need to move past discrediting everything Trump says and does just because he’s Trump.
One of Trump’s first priorities as President Elect, or PEOTUS, included nominating the 15 people to head the executive departments. In classic Trump fashion, he received immediate media backlash for many of his selections. Although it strangely seemed to me that for once, most of the criticism was not justified. Take for example Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State nominee. The Exxon Mobile CEO received a skeptical reception because he has no foreign policy experience, and for that matter, no public-sector experience. Despite these shortcomings, it is narrow minded to dismiss him out of hand. Tillerson is clearly intelligent, how else would he become the CEO of a multi-billion-dollar international company. He clearly has negotiation skills, and is used to working with people from all over the world. It isn’t that difficult to see how those skills might translate into the Secretary of State role. Additionally, Tillerson revealed numerous views that contradicted Trump’s most controversial opinions during his Senate Committee hearing this week. While he did not take a particularly harsh stance against Russia, he certainly seems more hawkish than Trump. The same thing goes for many of Trump’s other cabinet picks. Nominees like General “Mad Dog” Mattis and Nikki Haley expressed views that were certainly more mainstream and reasonable than Trump’s in their Senate hearings. While many of the nominees may not have much public policy experience, most are intelligent and successful people with reasonable views, whose input should be valued in Trump’s cabinet.
Then there are then the legitimately questionable picks for his cabinet like the head of Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who denies the existence of human caused climate change. Rick Perry, nominated to head the Energy Department, the one he pledged to abolish 5 years ago during a presidential debate is also questionable. However, there is a possibility that these picks could benefit the United States. The skepticism that the picks have of their departments might lead to less excessive spending and might ensure that only the most useful and functional programs are implemented. Of course, the opposite may be proved true and have serious consequences for these agencies, but we do not know how it will turn out until they are appointed and confirmed.
In addition to surrounding himself with a decent cabinet, Trump has appeared to change his stance on numerous controversial campaign promises. For example, a few weeks after the election, Trump reversed his position on human caused climate change saying “I think there is some connectivity [between human activity and climate change]. Some, something. It depends on how much.”, when he previously stated it was a hoax. He also reversed his stance on torture, saying that after talking to General Mattis, the Defense Secretary pick, he was no longer an advocate of waterboarding. Even his more inflammatory comments about things like NATO don’t seem to have real substance to them. While he did say NATO was obsolete, he has a point that it is not doing its job properly all the time. For example, when Crimea was annexed by Russia, it did not intervene.He never actually said that he wanted to pull out, and his cabinet members seem to believe NATO is a valuable treaty. Basically, while he makes his points ineloquently, there is occasionally some substance in his ramblings. This as not gone unnoticed, and CNN mentioned many other post-election conflicts like these in the video below.
While Trump's election may have seemed like the end of the world for some, it is time to bury the campaign hatchet. I am not saying that those who disagree with Trump need to back off. If you disagree with the things that he proposes and advocates for, stand up, protest and be heard. However, Trump is going back on many campaign promises that were his most controversial, and he is filling his cabinet with many intelligent and reasonable people. I am of the opinion that he said what he needed to get elected, and he is aware that sort of policy won’t fly in reality. Talk is cheap, but it’s his actions that matter