Defend President Trump

Donald Trump became president largely because he won votes in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.  He won all the electoral votes in these states and was able to win the electoral college while losing the popular vote by about 3 million votes.

Now a majority in those three states that helped propel Donald Trump into the White House no longer approve of his job performance, with approval ratings in those states in the mid 30’s and disapproval ratings at about 55%. More than 60% in Michigan and Wisconsin say they are embarrassed by President Trump. Even about 1/4 of those states’ Tea Party members are questioning his presidency only seven months in although most of the voters who supported President Trump in last year’s election still do so.

Nationally President Trump’s disapproval ratings hover around 60% and his approval rating at about 35%. In previous posts I’ve stated that Congress has an approval rating of about 15% and I wonder what that 15% sees that I don’t. I ask the same about President Trump: What does that 35% see that I don’t?

Three months into Donald Trump’s presidency I discussed the 2016 presidential election and the poor choices voters were stuck with in November. I stated that I understood how voters chose to oppose Hillary Clinton, but I also questioned how voters could actually support President Trump and approve of his behavior and actions prior to running for office, during the campaign, and after three months as president. Four months later I still wonder.

I’m honestly confused by the 30% of Americans who have validated candidate Trump’s 2016 boast:  “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters…”

And mostly I wonder what it says about the 30% of Americans who think it is OK for a president to constantly attack and blame others, including someone who is clearly an American hero and fighting what is possibly terminal cancer.  I’m also confused about:

  • How evangelical Christians helped elect and can continue to support someone who admitted to molesting women, who bragged about cheating on all his spouses (7th and 10th Commandments), who lacks compassion and humility required by Colossians,  who stole from contractors as well as those who signed up for Trump University (8th Commandment),  and who has told countless lies about other people and constantly plays loose with facts (9th Commandment). In fact, his fabrications and outright lies are almost constant.
  • How President Trump’s followers can ignore his promise to have Mexico pay for that (silly) wall but now says he will shut down our own government if the wall is not funded by American taxpayers.
  • How they can ignore his refusal to release his tax records after promising to do so. Isn’t it pretty obvious there is something in those records he doesn’t want us to see?
  • How they can ignore his firing someone who was conducting an investigation against him and his presidential campaign. And he has threatened to fire the special counsel now conducting that investigation. Again, isn’t it obvious that he has something to hide?
  • How can they ignore candidate Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp”, meaning get rid of all the insiders in the administration, when he actually filled his transition team and administration with lobbyists, corporate insiders, and those who contributed lots of money to his campaign. He appointed former lobbyists to administrative positions giving them responsibility for overseeing the corporations for whom they had previously worked. That isn’t draining the swamp. His cabinet is one of the wealthiest and least representative in history.
  • Why are his supporters not offended by his support for a bill reversing the Federal Communications Commission’s privacy policy making it possible for internet providers to sell customers’ browsing information and other data without their permission? This was a win for corporations, not for his voters.
  • Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Rules were intended to keep companies with a history of labor violations from receiving federal contracts and also required employers to provide their workers with detailed pay stubs to help avoid wage theft by employers. President Trump signed a law reversing those rules. Oh, the overturned law also made it more difficult for companies to hide allegations of discrimination or harassment. Why are his supporters not bothered by this?
  • How can his supporters ignore the fact that he attacked President Obama for playing golf and traveling too much when President Trump spent as much on travel in ten weeks as President Obama did in two years. And he actually makes money indirectly by holding meetings with foreign leaders at his properties.
  • President Trump supported an Obamacare replacement plan that was only supported by 17% of Americans and was opposed by 56%. Does it not matter that at least some of the 23 million who would lose healthcare coverage were the voters who put him in office?
  • Just yesterday President Trump once again made the claim that Americans are taxed at a higher rate than in any other country in the world. This is simply false, but he keeps repeating the claim because it plays well to the uninformed. If anyone disputes such claims he calls it “fake news”. Is his constant manipulation of voters not offensive?
  • How can his supporters accept his constant flip-flopping on policy issues (NATO, China as currency manipulator, his claim to not know Vladimir Putin, Syria, etc.) and not be concerned about the effectiveness of his policies?
  • Why are they not bothered by the fact that he has been unable to accomplish a single major campaign promise, and a good bit of the fault is his. His tweets and off-the- cuff comments (which almost always mangle the English language) have created an environment unconducive to compromise and accomplishment.

OK. I could continue offering arguments and facts, but by now it is obvious I’m not a fan of President Trump. In fact I’ve not been a fan of most presidents who have served during my lifetime, but my disdain for President Trump is almost visceral.  I’m with the majority of Americans.

I know I have friends who are supporters of President Trump. Here is your opportunity to defend him. I honestly want to read your arguments (as long as they are civil).  Please….defend President Trump.



Confirmation Bias and President Trump


A few weeks ago I wrote about the tendency to ignore facts and accept our preconceived ideas regardless of evidence to the contrary, a phenomenon known as “confirmation bias”. We all tend to fall in to that trap, but that tendency has never been more clear than  among those who continue to support President Trump in spite of all his paradoxical and contradictory behavior. And yes I do know that this is fairly common among supporters of the political class and it was absolutely true of President Obama’s supporters, but in my opinion the supporters of the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue have taken it to a new level. To be clear before I begin, I WANT President Trump to be successful. To wish otherwise is unpatriotic and counterproductive. And remember that the title of this blog is “Fiercely Independent” because I take great pride in my independence.

I absolutely understand why people voted against Hillary Clinton and I discussed that issue a few weeks back. I voted against Secretary Clinton in the primaries, choosing instead to support a Republican candidate even though I disagreed with him on a large number of policy issues. And on election day I held my nose when I voted for Secretary Clinton. I wished with all my heart other options had been available.

What I cannot understand is how about 35-40% of the population still offer unyielding support for President Trump. It appears that his main goal was winning the election and that he had absolutely no idea what actually holding the office would require. Of course I thought things he said before and during the campaign were offensive enough to warrant rejecting him as a candidate. Mocking a handicapped reporter, bragging about molesting women, refusing to release his tax returns (which he promised to release later but now refuses), referring to a reporter’s menstruation period to explain her challenging questions during the debate, stating that John McCain was not a war hero because his plane was shot down and he was captured (stated by a man who avoided Vietnam with college and medical deferments), mocking the Muslim family of a son who died serving our country, the scandal over the failed Trump University, hinting that returning soldiers with PTSD might be weak, stating again that he was not sure President Obama was a natural born citizen (he finally did admit that fact later), bragging that he could kill someone and still not lose supporters, saying that Mexico sends rapists across the border, and criticizing a federal judge who just happened to have a Spanish sounding name as a “hater of Donald Trump” were all good reasons to reject Donald Trump as a candidate. I would add that as a candidate he was on his third wife, he had been unfaithful to the previous two, and he bragged about sleeping with other men’s wives.  And before you say something about Bill Clinton, any students taking my classes in the mid 1990’s and any friend from that time will remember that I offered scathing criticism of President Clinton’s inexcusable infidelity and I did not vote for his reelection. I’m pretty darned consistent on that issue.

And, by the way, this is only a partial list of his gaffes and failures. I’m not even going in to President Trump’s previous unethical business dealings.

But perhaps the expectations I have for my presidents are just too unrealistic. Probably so. In the end I had to choose between someone with experience but who had made numerous mistakes in her public life and someone who was totally uninformed, unethical, inexperienced, and who offered not one single concrete policy idea.

I wonder how many of the 40% still offering strong support for President Trump would have been as forgiving of President Obama (and remember that I also did not vote for him) if he had said or done even one of the things I listed above or if, after becoming president, President Obama:

  • Was unable to push one piece of legislation through Congress in his first three months even though his party controlled both houses. Remember that candidate Trump  promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act on his first day?
  • Had said things like “nobody knew that health care was so complicated”.
  • Had accused his predecessor (George Bush) of wiretapping his phones.
  • Had filled his administration with corporate executives and lobbyists (almost all of whom were men) after promising he would  “drain the swamp”.
  • Complained that he missed his former life after being in office less than 100 days.
  • Had spent about $3 million of the taxpayers’ money every weekend by flying to one of his private properties while proposing budget cuts to agencies serving the poor. President Trump has spent more than $80 million in travel just in the first three months in office. He criticized Obama for traveling at the taxpayers’ expense but is far outpacing the former president’s travel expenditures.
  • Had played golf nineteen times during his first 100 days after criticizing his predecessor for doing just that.
  • Had refused to turn over documents related to the relationship his first national security adviser (Michael Flynn) had with Russia thus delaying an FBI investigation.
  • Had a daughter whose company received trademarks from China on the same day he met with the president of China.
  • Had supported a healthcare bill that would have harmed a large number of the people who voted for him.
  • Made money off his weekend taxpayer-funded travels by having guests stay in his private resorts.
  • Had reversed positions on China, the wall (thank goodness; it is a silly idea), NATO, the Paris Climate Accords, and more.
  • Embraced dictators and despots such as Egypt’s el-Sisi, Turkey’s Erdogan, and Duterte from the Philippines while offending traditional allies like Australia and Britain.
  • Tweeted incessantly about being mistreated by the media, his predecessor’s failures, bragging about his IQ (a certain sign of insecurity), etc.
  • Signed 25 or 30 executive orders after criticizing his predecessor for bypassing Congress using such orders.
  • Confused Andrew Jackson as a president relevant to The Civil War and actually said people have never considered that war’s causes. There are only about 10,000 books on the subject but reading is also hard.

I somehow doubt most current supporters of President Trump would have forgiven President Obama even one of these failings, and that is the definition of confirmation bias.

Yes, President Trump has had successes such as the nomination of a Supreme Court Justice, bombing a Syrian airstrip in response to their horrid treatment of their own citizens, and installing possibly the most intelligent and thoughtful national security team of all time. He has also fulfilled a few other campaign promises.  I’d still say the gaffes and mistakes far outweigh the successes.

We need meaningful tax reform. We need meaningful healthcare reform. We need meaningful infrastructure funding. We need so much more but those needs will never be met until the country’s leader learns to focus and installs good advisers around him and listens to them.

By now I’m sure diehard supporters of President Trump have stopped reading this and have unfriended me on Facebook (it won’t be the first time since I started this blog). I encourage civil response to the evidence presented here, but it cannot be “well at least we don’t have Clinton or Obama”. I understand concerns my fellow citizens have about those Democrats, but that in no way justifies blindly supporting our current president. And the response also cannot be “well…we need a change” because I absolutely agree. We just need thoughtful and constructive change.

The only way President Trump will change is if people STOP ignoring his failures and his approval ratings fall even further. He thrives on support and approval. Why else would he still be holding large public rallies after winning the election or giving almost everyone who visits the Oval Office a copy of the electoral college map while ignoring the fact that he lost the popular vote by a large margin.

I’m not very optimistic about the next four years, and many Republicans are very nervous about the 2018 Congressional elections because their current leader is hurting their chances for reelection. It won’t be long before his own party begins running away from him.

NOTE: There are only a couple of linked sources because research wasn’t required to compose this post. If you find that anything I posted is false I will accept responsibility and apologize.