Discipling Trump

Published 9:25 am Wednesday, August 9, 2017

by Michael Regan

Usually it takes a lot of boring three-yard runs and a thick cloud of dust to drive any important piece of legislation across the goal line in Washington.

But at this late stage of the game QB Donald Trump and his Republican teammates are going to need a Hail Mary.

During the seven months they’ve been in control of the political football in D.C. they’ve brought no significant legislation before Congress.

Republicans in the Senate deserve most of the blame for the failure of health care reform.

But the president — the owner, head coach, chief publicist and star quarterback of Team Trump — remains the biggest problem.

Like a reckless rookie unable to learn from his mistakes, QB Trump is repeatedly scrambling out of the pocket, throwing incompletions in every direction — and then blaming his blockers, receivers and cheerleaders on Twitter for his team’s negative yardage.

Meanwhile, for him and the GOP the 2017 congressional game clock is running down fast.

It’s already August. Congress is going home for vacation. Then you get into September and before you know it, it’s time for Congress to break for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Then comes 2018 and the mid-term elections. And then nothing important will happen in Congress, except that Republicans and Democrats will point fingers at each other and work hard overtime at getting reelected.

President Trump and the Republicans have to go into their hurry-up offense and pass something important on health care, tax reform or immigration and put their stamp on it, or they might be looking at a Democratic Senate in 2019.

On healthcare, it’s clear that we can’t completely repeal Obamacare, but we can still completely fix it.

Trump and Republicans, and maybe even some Democrats, now have to find areas where they agree, move forward and get some legislation passed. Then repeat and repeat and repeat.

It’s frustrating to see how Trump keeps hurting his own cause and the future of the Republican Party.

The stock market is soaring and the economy is showing signs of growth, but that good news is never heard in the media because it’s drowned out by the coverage of the president’s tweeting.

President Trump took a giant step in the right direction last week by making General John Kelly his chief of staff.

It was one of the best moves Trump has made and a sign of hope that he may finally be learning something on the job.

General Kelly will bring some long overdue order and discipline to the White House operations, as he quickly proved when he had the president fire Anthony Scaramucci as White House communications director.

We’ve written about how important it is for a president to have an adult like Kelly in the Oval Office, but the real issue is whether our president will listen to advice from the adult.

President Trump is never going to change his personality or stop thinking that he makes the sun come up every morning.

But if he wants to fulfill any of his campaign promises, or even if he wants to push his poll numbers back into the low 40 percent range, he has to become disciplined.

He has to learn that presidents never slam their generals in public or talk out loud about firing generals like John Nicholson in Afghanistan.

He has to learn to pat his people on the back, to uplift them, not stab them in the back.

He has to learn what my father knew — that when you have to attack your enemies your best weapons are a wink and a nod.

Most important, President Trump has to learn that he’s now in the business of politics, not the business of business.

And in politics the bottom line is that in the end the blame — like the buck — stops at the president’s desk.

MICHAEL REAGAN is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. Martin’s Press). He is the founder of the email service reagan.com and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at www.reagan.com and www.michaelereagan.com. Send comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com. Follow @reaganworld on Twitter.