As the end of Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office approaches, now’s a good a time to cut through the fog of misinformation, disinformation, media propaganda, ideological bias and outright hostility that has greeted his arrival in Washington and take a clear-eyed look at how he’s really doing.
Answer: much better than you think.
Let’s take the area that was supposed to be his Achilles’ heel, foreign policy. After flirting publicly with the likes of John Bolton, Rudy Giuliani and David Petraeus, Trump settled on dark horse Rex Tillerson, the former chief of ExxonMobil, to be his secretary of state. Like his boss, Tillerson had no prior experience in government — which has turned out so far to be an excellent thing.
Unencumbered by the can’t-do conventional wisdom of the Foggy Bottom establishment and its parrots in the Washington press corps, Tillerson has played the carrot to Trump’s stick, soothing Chinese feathers ruffled during the campaign with a March visit to Beijing and setting up the successful meeting earlier this month between The Donald and the Chinese president at Mar-a-Largo that — purely coincidentally! — coincided with the cruise-missile salvo fired at Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.
Since then, the Chinese have openly cautioned the troublesome regime of Kim Jong un in North Korea not to antagonize the US with further nuclear saber-rattling in the region; “Trump is a man who honors his promises,” warned the People’s Daily, the ruling party’s official newspaper. Among those promises: a better trade deal for China and an ominous presidential tweet to the Norks that they’re “looking for trouble,” and signed “USA.” Even now, US warships are steaming Kim’s way.
Regarding Russia, Tillerson rocked the former Soviets with a “frank discussion” in Moscow on Wednesday — diplo-speak for “contentious.” Meanwhile, at the UN, ambassador Nikki Haley has already proven her mettle, taking a hard line toward the Russians for their tactical alliance with Assad while making clear the US commitment to Israel.
The next part of the piece goes into Trump’s actions on domestic policy, taking a similar tone to the excerpt here, with the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court touted as the crown jewel.
Despite these clear successes, the Beltway media continues to depict the White House as a floundering, latter-day court of the Borgias, a back-stabber behind every arras. But that’s to be expected of a novice administration in its infancy. When the smoke clears, look for an uneasy balance of power between chief counselor Steve Bannon and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. Trump can ill-afford to lose Bannon and his die-hard conservative base. And the sooner the floundering White House press operation is rebooted, the better; the administration has played defense against a hostile, sneering media long enough.
This op-ed is one of those rare balanced pieces that used to characterize the press before it became an arm of the (((Deep State.))) It’s refreshing to read a piece that avoids the sneering negativity that I see in most articles about Trump’s presidency.