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About That Crazy Cabinet Meeting...

One of the biggest hurdles to Trump's agenda is that he gets in his own way.

Nate Jackson · Jan. 3, 2019

We’ve written many times about President Donald Trump’s extraordinary record of implementing remarkably conservative policies. Not everything he’s touched is gold, but his record is quite good. We’ve also noted that one of the biggest hurdles to his agenda is that he gets in his own way. That was seemingly the case with his Cabinet meeting Wednesday.

The rabidly anti-Trump Washington Post ran what was framed as a news story but was really another editorial in disguise. That said, the paper wasn’t wrong in its lede: “President Trump, 12 days into a government shutdown and facing new scrutiny from emboldened Democrats, inaugurated the new year Wednesday with a Cabinet meeting. It quickly became a 95-minute stream-of-consciousness defense of his presidency and worldview, filled with falsehoods, revisionist history and self-aggrandizement.”

Two comments in particular highlighted the problem with Trump’s freewheeling rhetorical style. Of former Defense Secretary James Mattis, Trump declared, “What’s he done for me? How had he done in Afghanistan? Not too good. … I’m not happy with what he’s done in Afghanistan. I want results.” Then Trump posited, “I think I would have been a good general, but who knows?”

Maybe if Trump hadn’t received five draft deferments from serving in Vietnam we’d see how he compared to Gen. Mattis’s lifetime of dedicated service to our nation. In any case, the commander-in-chief should not be so condescending and arrogant toward career uniformed Patriots.

Trump’s comments about the Soviets in Afghanistan also merit a facepalm. “Russia used to be the Soviet Union. Afghanistan made it Russia, because they went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan,” Trump said, arguing that’s why American should pull out of long and expensive wars. But the Soviet Union became Russia again because of Ronald Reagan’s successful efforts to win the Cold War.

Moreover, Trump continued, “The reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there.” Wrong. The Washington Examiner’s Quin Hillyer explains why: “The invasion was an application of the Brezhnev Doctrine, which promised the use of Soviet armed force to crush any attempt to roll back communism or attain human rights, anywhere the Kremlin considered within the Soviet sphere of influence. The doctrine was, in a word, evil. Tens of millions of people had human rights, or hopes for them, destroyed, and of course many thousands lost their lives.”

Trump either doesn’t understand this or, as he is wont to do, he gets himself tied in rhetorical BS knots because he rambles — especially when on the defensive.

But never mind all that. Trump asserted, “They say I am the most popular president in the history of the Republican Party.” There are indeed metrics by which that might be true.

A final note: We’re often accused of being “too anti-Trump,” and this piece probably serves as evidence to those folks that we’re no different than Mitt Romney. But we’re also accused of being “too pro-Trump,” which is a good way to remind readers that we endeavor simply to call it like it is. Our mission is to advocate Liberty and constitutional government. When Trump aligns with that, great. When he doesn’t — or when he gets in his own way — we’ll call him out for it. That isn’t “anti” or “pro” — it’s just the truth.

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