Veteran newsman Dan Rather took to Facebook on Friday to address the multitude of radical policy changes Donald Trump has made on key points from his campaign in just 72 hours.
There’s a big difference between evolution and confusion.
Much has been made in recent days of President Trump’s radical changes on key points from his campaign. Russia good, to Russia bad. China bad, to China good. Syria stay out, to Syria go in. Healthcare first, to tax reform first, to healthcare first, again, maybe. Supposedly fighting for main street, to now cozying up to Wall Street.
One could make the case that on some of these positions there is progress due to a more nuanced view of the world. Yes, the situation in North Korea is complicated, although it shouldn’t have taken a short conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping to come to that conclusion. A President admitting that he is getting his foreign policy advice from China does not inspire much confidence. “After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy,” Trump was quoted in the Wall Street Journal. “I felt pretty strongly that they had a tremendous power [over] North Korea. … But it’s not what you would think.” Actually that is what a lot of people have thought – for decades. Just like health care isn’t easy. Who knew?
The problem is that there is no sense that these changes, happening just weeks into Mr. Trump’s term, are the result of anything but knee-jerk reaction. There has long been a belief that this President acts on the advice of the last person he talked to. Is that happening here? Can anyone say with any certainty that these new directions won’t be spun around again in a week or month?
Being erratic is among the worst qualities a president can have. The world’s stability depends on having some sense of the direction of the United States. Everyone else sort of tacks to the winds that blow from Washington. And right now those winds seem about as predictable as a tornado.