Ted Mack hosted an amateur hour on radio and then television from 1948 to 1970. That show was one entertainment forebear of more recent shows such as “America’s Got Talent” and “American Idol.”
Sadly, Ted Mack’s “Original Amateur Hour” also seems to have provided the model for the Trump presidency. Consider:
- Trump delights in portraying himself (and being seen by others) as the quintessential Washington outsider with no political experience. In other words, he is a political amateur.
- Similarly, Trump’s cabinet members and closest advisers are amateurs.
Unsurprisingly, Trump’s initial executive orders, tweets, and interactions with foreign leaders reflect that amateurism. For example:
- Cozying up to Russia’s Putin and alienating the Prime Minister of vital US ally Australia.
- Claiming in Tweets and public statements, contrary to all available evidence and expert opinion, that he would have won the popular vote had there not been several million fraudulent votes in favor of Clinton.
- Banning legal residents of the US (green card holders) from entering the US if they were citizens of one of the seven Muslim majority states from whom he had banned all immigrants for 90 days.
The amateurism of Trump’s administration is also plainly seen in the administration’s focus on Trump’s ego instead of the people. Illustratively,
- His Holocaust Day statement omitted any mention of the Jewish Holocaust and he used his meeting with Africa-American leaders intended to mark the beginning of Black History Month as an opportunity to denounce the media.
- British Prime Minister Teresa May in her joint news conference with trump blatantly pandered to Trump’s ego, something Trump appeared to enjoy.
Most importantly for me as a Christian, Trump’s amateurism is evident in his superficial understanding of Christianity:
- Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast, Trump unethically belittled the performance of Arnold Schwarzenegger as the new host of “The Apprentice” and asks attendees to pray for the show’s ratings while largely ignoring the more profound moral challenges facing the nation.
- In his inaugural speech, Trump calls for policies that put America first, having taken the oath of office placing his hand on two Bibles (one apparently is insufficient!), implicitly contradicting Jesus’ fundamental teachings to love our neighbor and that all people, regardless of religion or nationality, are our neighbors.
- Pandering to economic and security fears by threatening trade wars and promulgating travel bans instead of promoting courage, prudence, and justice.
- Consistently preferring “alternative facts,” ad hominem attacks, and other fallacious forms of discourse to engaging in constructive public discourse.
Amateurism in the White House will not last very long. Trump and his minions will develop some level of professional, their amateurism will lead to impeachment, or their amateurism will have major, disastrous national or international consequences.