Let us propose for the purpose of argument how a Trump administration will proceed if the new President has EVERY intention of being the best president he can be. Let us also credit his idea of being good as being in no significant way different from ours.
On his first day as President-elect, there was a good start in the ways he handled Hillary’s concession and his meeting with President Obama.
One the other hand, he later that day issued a tweet that was discouraging: “Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!”
Why do this? He realized on his own that some of his voters would be offended by his good behavior and needed to address them, or he already knew they were up in arms.
The next morning he tweeted what was taken to be a “replacement” tweet by the media: “Love the fact that the small groups of protesters last night have passion for our great country. We will all come together and be proud!”
However, it can only be accepted as a replacement tweet if he makes it clear that that is what it was. Otherwise, both meanings stand. So which is it? If we don’t give him the benefit of the doubt, it’s both. He hopes that those assuaged by his first tweet will stay assuaged and those reassured by his second tweet will take it as a replacement for the first. If it is not a replacement. He is trying to “play” both sides.
The answer remains to be seen. Yesterday, several extreme intentions were walked back and at the moment, although there is speculation that he will make bad appointment choices, we must wait and see.
If he does make offensive choices – Steve Bannon being the most overtly bad – we can take that as as indicative of our worst expectations or, like the “Very unfair” tweet, meant to assuage supporters suspicious of treachery. If offensive for offensive sake we can give up our assumption that he has good intentions. If to assuage affronted supporters, trying to minimize backlash.
If he wants to be a good President he must immediately do the right thing, right away, and in every way. And then weather the consequences with those who voted for him expecting bad behavior, who feel betrayed by his good behavior.
If he doesn’t do the right things, he will alternate between trying to go in the right direction and assuaging his angrier and angrier voters. The result, I expect, will be more chaotic than the consequences of trying to do the right thing from the start.
We shall see…