Trump Administration = World Wrestling Entertainment?
It's time for all in DC to exit the wrestling ring and provide solutions that help the American people.
The act of insubordination is typically, and justifiably, followed by the phrase, “You’re fired!” Yet, in the case of the Trump administration, several top-level cabinet members and senior leaders who fall completely outside the designation of “The Establishment” have been, as the press lovingly refers to John McCain in his frequent departure from Republican orthodoxy, going maverick in relation to their boss, the president.
Why does such a dominant personality like Trump abide with conflict and the lack of public loyalty? At this point, there are only theories. Let’s examine a couple that could be more reasonably accepted than others. And let’s do so thinking in terms of World Wrestling Entertainment, or WWE.
How many American presidents have a place of honor in the WWE Hall of Fame? How many presidents have been given the nickname, “The People’s Billionaire”? That’s discussed by author Michael D'Antonio, who wrote, “Never Enough: Donald Trump and the Pursuit of Success.”
Yep, there’s just one Donald J. Trump.
Immediately following the violence in Charlottesville, Chief Economic Advisor Gary Cohn openly criticized Trump for his initial remarks denouncing hate groups, specifically the neo-Nazis involved in the hateful demonstrations that weekend. Cohn insisted that, relating to “white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK,” the Trump administration “must do better in consistently and unequivocally condemning these groups.”
To the Leftmedia (and some on the Right), this would’ve certainly been a wrestling smackdown of Trump.
Then, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was asked by Fox News’s Chris Wallace if he supported Trump’s assertion that “both sides” held responsibility in the Charlottesville violence. Tillerson declared, “The president speaks for himself,” with a follow-up positioning Trump’s remarks as perpendicular to “American values.”
Again, off the top turnbuckle with an aerial hit — that was how the breathless media saw this wrestling blow to their villain, “The Donald.”
Finally, an iconic figure within the Trump administration, Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis, seemingly challenged Trump’s declaration that with the next threat or action against an interest of the U.S., North Korea would be met with “fire, fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.” A few days later, Trump proclaimed, “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded.” The president’s remarks were made on August 8 and 11, respectively.
But, not so fast, according to Mattis.
Despite harsh rhetoric, UN sanctions and China giving the wink that they would intervene if America were to strike the misbehaving tyrant first, Kim Jong Un persists in acts that could potentially trigger war right under the nose of the Chinese government. Yet Secretary Mattis said on August 27, “We’re never out of diplomatic solutions,” when fielding a question about whether America and our allies had exhausted all measures outside some military response.
Mattis’ full Nelson was seen to have Trump exposed and vulnerable with nowhere to go in the headlock maneuver.
But Mattis put the phony controversy in perspective, saying, “If I say six and the president says half a dozen, they’re going to say I disagree with him.”
In the national press, who have scripted any who oppose Trump as the good guys and Donald to be the heel that’s the villain in the ring, each of these moments of distance and disagreement were punches supposedly landed to the torso of the president.
The political establishment of both parties who thrive on the incumbency versus principled policy and the Leftmedia have it wrong, again. While they view Trump as the villain, the American worker and average voter see him as the People’s Billionaire with a streak of bad-boy that defends the little guy.
Stepping away from the WWE metaphor, it’s clear that none of these three men are natives of the DC Swamp habitat, and thus wouldn’t be natural opponents to the “Drain the Swamp” effort.
Instead, a return to productive life outside the Beltway is likely with no desire to be tied to a set of talking points for Cohn and Tillerson. These men are highly respected within their spheres of influence, which is exactly what brought them into an invited position to serve in the Trump administration. With Mattis, whose comments were captured while speaking with South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo at a press event at the Pentagon, his authoritative standing not only with America’s military and political leaders but around the world is taken both seriously and literally, whereas Trump’s comments are supposedly meant as the former, not the latter.
Another possible accepted theory, in light of the continued service of all three of these men despite their public departure (real or seeming) from Trump’s position, is Trump’s singular focus on results not the means. More common in the corporate world and almost always absent in the web of a bureaucracy such as the U.S. government: If the results are favorable, temporary failure, missteps and conflict can be overlooked.
The Trump administration is not the first to have disruption and disunity. The Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Doris Kearns Goodwin, “A Team of Rivals” prominently features Abraham Lincoln’s election opponents whom he intentionally selected to serve in his cabinet — Secretary of War William H. Seward, Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase and Attorney General Edward Bates. Even while serving during the War Between the States, Chase, namesake of the bank, actively worked to undermine Lincoln, who looked past his shenanigans to his effective service to fund the war.
It does grow tiring to see such drama out Washington, DC, when such monumental matters sit stagnant in the quagmire of the Swamp, like ObamaCare, tax reform, infrastructure and securing the U.S. southern border. It can also provide a pathetically humorous reminder that the theatrics of politics is eclipsing the needed results on behalf of the American public.
Insubordination, backstabbing rebels, a team of rivals … whatever you call them, it’s time for all in DC to exit the wrestling ring to live in the real world and provide solutions that help the American people.