Tuesday, 24 January 2017
Trump Must Pick His Battles
As you will have seen yesterday, I piled in along with most other media organisations and blogs over the idiotic Trump claims about his inauguration attracting the biggest crowds in history. It was demonstrably untrue and the various falsehoods they deployed or asserted were demonstrably untrue too. Some say that this is a deliberate strategy to obfuscate and create distrust of the media. That is a battle they simply cannot win with a strategy of lies or 'alternative facts.'
This is to dignify Trump's team with a strategy that likely does not exist. Trump is quite simply thin skinned and cannot stand the thought that anyone is saying or writing anything about him he considers disobliging. And so he fires back. It is an attitude that will drive him mad if he continues this way. He is the president now. He will receive an awful lot of attention and an awful lot of criticism. Most leaders are kept sheltered from the news media. Trump has to do the same. If he continues the way he has started as president then he will burn out in a matter of weeks.
The whole inauguration debacle was a nonsense anyway. What does it matter? Trump may want the whole world to love him but surely he realises that we don't. Even those who voted for him seem to have done so knowing his flaws and hoping for the best. There were a few die hards who cheered him and thought he could do no wrong. He won the election by an ultra narrow margin. The best he can hope for, at least at this stage, is to be a George W Bush figure.
This is not to say that the shock that the liberal establishment are feeling about Trump's ascendancy is not entertaining. In truth they are just having their own tactics deployed against them. The same people who regularly call those who are sceptical of climate change deniers are in no position to get angry when the president accuses them of writing or broadcasting fake news.
This blog agrees with Trump on many issues: on China, on climate change, on renewables subsidies, on LGBT issues given such ridiculous prominence to name but a few. It will be cheering him on if he slashes US government spending and reins in liberal pet causes such as some of the above. It will cheer him even louder if he follows through on cutting and simplifying taxes. When Theresa May lands in the US later this week it will be a sign that we actually do have a special relationship if they signal a new trading and immigration relationship between our two English speaking countries.
All of which makes it such a terrible shame that Trump started so ingloriously with a confected row over something so inconsequential and demonstrably wrong. It was undignified and absurd. Trump needs to pick his battles and rein in his worst instincts. This blog will cheer him on when appropriate and call him on every bad decision or intemperate press conference. That is fair. Most of the media will be the same, whatever the president thinks.