The Forbes piece reveals a New York Real Estate guy who NEVER ran anything as complex as the American Executive Branch (for 300 million people) and who thinks that he is the Master of the Universe…
Trump’s transactional mindset, however, doesn’t see it that way (nor do many of his core supporters, who expect radical change above all else). If previous policies were bad deals, he sees no reason to honor them, even at the cost of America’s reputation or the perception of stable American policy.
Take Obamacare. “It’s a total mess,” Trump says. Fair point. But doesn’t Trump, as the CEO of America, have an obligation to operate it as well as he can until he has an alternative, rather than threaten to withhold payments to insurance companies, shrink the enrollment period and slash the advertising budget?
“What we’re doing is trying to keep it afloat, because it’s failing,” he says. “I mean the insurance companies are fleeing and have fled. They fled before I got here. But with that being said, no, Obamacare is Obama’s fault. It’s nobody else’s fault.”
But isn’t it now his administration’s responsibility? “Yes. But I’ve always said Obamacare is Obama’s fault. It’s never going to be our fault.”
The same approach comes through in foreign policy, again and again, whether it’s the Iran deal, the Paris climate agreement or, especially, free-trade deals. Doesn’t he feel a responsibility to honor agreements from previous administrations?
President Trump has a quick response: “No.”
It’s a dangerous precedent: an America where each administration, rather than building on the agreements of its predecessors, undoes each other’s deals—effectively undermining the authority of any American head of state. Again, Trump shrugs.
“I happen to think that NAFTA will have to be terminated if we’re going to make it good. Otherwise, I believe you can’t negotiate a good deal… . [The Trans-Pacific Partnership] would have been a large-scale version of NAFTA. It would have been a disaster. It’s a great honor to have—I consider that a great accomplishment, stopping that. And there are many people that agree with me. I like bilateral deals.”
Of course he does. Trump has been doing bilateral deals his whole life. But bilateral deals are just that—one-on-one bargains carrying the implicit prospect of a negotiation that will create a winner and a loser. Doesn’t this fly in the face of our multilateral world?
“You can have it this way and do much more business. And if it doesn’t work out with a country, you give them a 30-day notice, and you either renegotiate or not.”
Trump’s bilateral world, of course, explains why foreign aid gets cut. It comes with a huge downside. Deals score points, but deals don’t create long-term investments. It’s impossible to think of something like the Marshall Plan, which teed up more than six decades of peace and prosperity, coming out of the Trump White House. To that, he shrugs again.
“For me, it’s America first. We’ve been doing that so long that we owe $20 trillion, okay?”
Trump intends to run the country more like the Trump Organization in other ways. Much has been made about how slow he’s been to nominate people to key positions. In the State Department, for example, he has failed to put up names for more than half of the comfirmable positions. That’s apparently not an accident.
“I’m generally not going to make a lot of the appointments that would normally be—because you don’t need them,” he says. “I mean, you look at some of these agencies, how massive they are, and it’s totally unnecessary. They have hundreds of thousands of people.”
And how does this man, who’s never really had a boss, feel about now having 330 million of them, to be exact? He acknowledges the fact, but then answers in a way that is perfect, consistent Trump:
“It doesn’t matter, because I’m going to do the right thing.”….
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