TORONTO - Donald Trump seems to careen from one communications crisis to another. We are witness to an experience that resembles being a passenger in a bumper car on a Carnival Midway ride. We are not going anywhere, and the “thrill” of avoiding the next collision invariably dissipates with every passing moment. Six months into his mandate, the President of the USA is, by all appearances, committed to showing the world that not only is he “top dog”, but that he is prepared – if not committed – to reversing [long standing] practices and trends that have defined Western Democratic societies and progressive, inclusive collective values that flow from them. The riots and tragedy at Charlottesville may well be the defining moment for his Presidency. He does not appear to appreciate their full implications. He has left a huge vacuum for others to fill as they want.
It is difficult to imagine that someone so immersed in the international milieu of money, executive power, culture and “global personalities” would be halting in his assessment of nuanced situations that impact his authority at home and abroad.
No less than six senior CEOs of companies with International interests have abandoned his Advisory Council since his bungling of the only message that Americans (and anyone with a conscience) wanted to hear after Charlottesville: there is no room for extremists in our society, and anyone who would want to take us back to dark days gone by will have the full weight of the Presidency and the System against them.
He took a pass. Then he made things worse by suggesting that neo-Nazis and ultra-right hate-mongerers may not necessarily be that bad. Thus, abandoning the moral authority vested in the Office. His popularity will undoubtedly plummet.
This is a trying moment for the USA. Negotiations for updating the NFTA have just begun. Competent negotiators in the State Commerce Department will still need purpose and direction by an Executive that has the full confidence of the American public. Canadians and Mexicans can’t afford erstwhile attention to the lifeblood of the most important commercial relationship in the world.
On the political side Internationally, China has breathed a little life of hope in its handling of the North Korean crisis. The down side is that the USA is no longer providing the leadership on a crisis arguably of its own making.
Trump’s twitter diplomacy has proven to be provocative, disruptive and unworkable.
Unfortunately, he has now exposed his own verbal and management shortcomings on domestic issues as well. He did not have a moral compass before, now he cannot even pretend to be aware that there is one to ignore.
Not even a war will distract the public’s realization that Trump just “does not have the stuff”.