Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Donald Trump: Like a petulant child

Donald Trump refused to participate in the last Iowa debate among those running to become the GOP presidential candidate because he did not like one of the moderators, Megyn Kelly of Fox News.

Trump's behavior is more like that of a petulant child than the maturity of someone ready to become the leader of the world's most powerful nation. The President of the US has to interact, repeatedly and with at least a veneer of politeness, with many people whom the President may personally dislike or whose views the President may find distasteful if not reprehensible. The President, as Commander in Chief, also has direct authority over the world's most powerful military and nuclear arsenal. A person campaigning for election as President of the US, who sulkily refuses to participate in a debate because of objections to one of the moderators, demonstrates a very disturbing lack of emotional maturity and a frighteningly excessive degree of narcissism (believing him or herself to be the center of the world).

After months on the campaign trail as the self-proclaimed GOP front-runner, Trump's ignorance of the Constitution, economic facts, and international affairs reflects a similar emotional immaturity. Contrary to Trump, (1) prohibiting Muslims from entering the US would violate the Constitution's ban against government discrimination based on religion; (2) unemployment in the US is not in excess of 20% but at 5%; (3) the Kurds and the Iranian national guards are not identical but are from different religions, ethnicities, and states.

Sometimes the President of the US would benefit from having a dealmaker's skills. The job, however, calls for much more than making deals. A President depends upon global respect to exert international influence. A President needs vision to inspire and to lead domestically and internationally. A President needs an extensive grasp of politics, economics, military, national, and international affairs. Crises do not occur with built-in time-outs for the President to get up to speed on a set of issues. Debates that ask potential candidates to address tough issues, issues some would prefer to avoid, offer opportunity to watch the candidates perform under pressure. Candidates who refuse to take the time to learn about the issues convey amateurism, an implicit lack of respect for the public, and appear to substitute brash self-confidence for the depth and competence that the seriousness and magnitude of the President's responsibilities require. Trump, for example, in a press interview was unfamiliar with the US nuclear triad of ground, air, and submarine capacity to launch strategic nuclear weapons.

The Presidency is not like Burger King: you cannot have it your own way, Mr. Trump.

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