COMMENTARY: Finally We Have a President


Although I do not think John F. Kennedy was a great president, I have always been in awe of his ability to communicate. His press conferences in particular showcased the man’s easy charm, intelligence, and self-assurance. No president has come close, except perhaps “the great communicator,” Ronald Reagan. I choose not to include Obama because, despite his deceptive charm, he was an inveterate liar who fell asleep whenever deprived of his teleprompter. On February 16th we were treated to a resurrection of JFK’s talent. The 45th president proved to anyone willing to listen that he deserves to sit in the Oval Office.

At his press conference, Donald Trump demonstrated the brilliance of his intellect. He revealed a complete grasp of the issues and easily handled question after question with aplomb. You think that’s easy? Try it some time. The agile workings of Trump’s mind were on display. The pseudo-experts who accused him of being mentally incompetent can now eat their words. He defined the meaning of charisma with a combination of relaxation, humor, confidence, and the total command presence we deserve to expect from our president. Gone were the bombastic outbursts we saw in the primaries, yet Trump still managed to unleash the kind of pejorative labels that he used so effectively against his Republican opponents, e.g., the “failing” New York Times and the “very fake news” CNN.

The extent of his managerial acumen was evident as he boasted about the accomplishments of his month-old administration (“a finely tuned machine”), exposed the mess he inherited (“jobs pouring out of the country” and “mass instability overseas”), and lashed out at a mainstream media that has dispensed fake news about his presidency. He criticized the media-induced hysteria over alleged Russian connections to his administration, unsupported accusations that have been compared by loony anti-Trump sources to Watergate and Pearl Harbor. Trump suggested that the whole campaign of fake news is a ruse to take focus away from the actual problem—the leaking of classified information.

Bernie Goldberg, speaking on Fox’s O’Reilly Factor, accused Trump of being “thin-skinned,” then in the same breath destroyed his own argument by acknowledging that the media has morphed into an arm of the Democratic Party. Trump’s characterization of the press is anything but a figment of his imagination. Bill O’Reilly disagreed with Goldberg, affirming that Trump is “never going to get a fair shake from the national media.”

Did Trump make a cogent case for his point-of-view? Yes, said O’Reilly. Trump, he said, has succeeded in “undermining the media’s credibility.” Trump was able to paint a convincing picture that he is being bullied by the press. Americans love an underdog and hate a bully. The more Trump defends himself against the media onslaught, the more support he gets.

After watching the press conference, I did not have long to wait for proof of Trump’s accusation that CNN is a “very fake news” outlet. Fareed Zakaria, speaking on CNN, claimed that Trump faulted the media for the entire disintegration of our relationship with the Russians. What Trump actually said was, the media is contributing to the problem. Listening to Zakaria you would think that Trump said the media is solely to blame. This is a clear example of how the media distorts and misrepresents the facts. Then I turned on my computer to discover a reference on to Trump’s “surreal” press conference, a subtle downplaying of the president’s accomplishment. Surreal is defined as “bizarre, strange, unreal.” There was nothing unreal about the press conference. Quite the contrary, Trump is the most “real” politician we have seen in ages.

What we just witnessed is the transformation of a successful CEO, a reality show host, a non-politician, into the kind of president we have not seen since Reagan. All the nasty barbs that have been aimed at him—racist, fascist, sexual predator, anti-Semite, mentally unbalanced—were shattered by Trump’s exemplary performance. Finally we have a president.

Ed Brodow

Ed Brodow is a negotiation expert, political commentator, and author of In Lies We Trust: How Politicians and the Media Are Deceiving the American Public.

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