The Trump administration hasn’t even started yet, and it’s already a fiasco writes Paul Waldman (Washington Post/Plum Line). Some of this stuff would be funny if it did not involve the election of know-nothings to the most powerful positions on the planet.
For example, Waldman quotes a report in the Wall Street Journal about expectations of Trump’s aides going into the visit between Trump and Obama.
During their private White House meeting on Thursday, [President] Obama walked his successor through the duties of running the country, and Mr. Trump seemed surprised by the scope, said people familiar with the meeting. Trump aides were described by those people as unaware that the entire presidential staff working in the West Wing had to be replaced at the end of Mr. Obama’s term.
The man ran for president for a year and a half, and is surprised that the presidency is such a big job. Meanwhile, his aides were under the impression that the Obama staffers would stick around and be working for them now.
This is appalling, but it shouldn’t be surprising. Those of us who actually contemplated a Trump presidency during the campaign were particularly disturbed not just by Trump’s ignorance, but also by the fact that it was accompanied by a certainty that he knew everything he needed to know, despite the fact that he knew virtually nothing. He would regularly claim that he was smarter and more knowledgeable than everyone who actually had experience in government and policy, despite never having served a day in government or spent a moment thinking about policy. … Even Republicans knew that he was just lying.
… as it begins to take shape, Trump’s administration is looking like some kind of mash-up of “Being There” and “American History X,” with just the combination of cluelessness and malice that you would have expected.
Here’s the start of the malice coming straight from the top - an example of the sore winner syndrome.
Meanwhile, the president-elect is tweeting out insults at news organizations whose coverage of him is insufficiently adulatory. If you thought that having won the election despite losing the popular vote Trump might display an iota of class, you were mistaken. And the chaos is just beginning.
John Cassidy (New Yorker), I think, would agree with much of that, especially the cluelessness in the Trump machine that will open the door to cronyism and the lobbyists who make up the “swamp”. Cassidy winds up Donald Trump’s great bait and switch this way:
To sum up, this is the prospect we are facing. A populist but semi-engaged President who is less interested in governing than in soaking up adulation at big rallies. (He might hold more of them even though the campaign is over, the Times story said.) Meanwhile, his cronies and members of the permanent establishment make many of the actual decisions, which will largely benefit the already rich, including the ruling family. Debt mushrooms as El Presidente approves prestige construction projects but not the taxes needed to pay for them. And skilled propagandists, like Bannon, whip up nationalist fervor to keep the masses diverted from what is really going on.