Dear President Trump,
When we talk about the Elephant in the Room, we’re describing something obvious that no one wants to talk about. And now we’ve got an Elephant in the White House who obviously wants our attention; you want us to talk about you. Forever. The literary spirit in me wants to guess at your motives– are you seeking immortality? Dodging the Reaper?– but they’re not ultimately important. Media attention has obviously benefited you politically, so it makes sense that you’d want it to continue.
And to that end you, sir, are Doing Things. So many things. Honestly, so many things that it’s hard to make sense of your goals. I really want to speculate on those goals, but one of my rules from the start is that I won’t speculate in these open letters. And I’ll offer constructive criticism. Wow. My job is hard.
So let me talk about the best way for me to do my job. First, I’m going to have to ignore the majority of what you do and focus on actions of substance that will have far reaching effects and consequences. For example, you’ve made a record-setting number of Executive Actions since you took office. However, most of them are vague or ineffectual, impossible to implement, or are simply and immediately being blocked by courts. As a constructive criticism, you should learn the basics of writing a good, enforceable, constitutional law. You should also learn about the legislative process, since you’ll need it if you want funding for anything, and should look into finding ways to work with the departments your orders affect. Without those three things implementation of your orders will be haphazard at best, and may lead to unintended consequences.
Of course, attention has its own rewards. If that’s all you want then you can ignore everything I just wrote about effective governance. It’s not relevant to your interests.
However, you haven’t stopped at Executive Actions, Orders, Proclamations and the lot. You’re also working to fill cabinet positions, and almost every individual you’ve nominated is underqualified— or at least very weirdly qualified— and controversial. And then you put Breitbart’s own Steven Bannon on the NSC after removing the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
It’s like your spamming the Senate and the American people in a sustained denial of service attack. It’s an effective strategy, in that even if you lose a couple fights (you probably won’t) you will almost certainly win the majority. The question I don’t think you’ve asked, though, is whether these fights are worth winning. Will these nominees be able to do the job? Because if they end up like W’s crony Michael “Heckuvajob” Brown then they’ll embarrass you. They might all go off like firecrackers in a string, disaster after disaster. Of course this will be a lot worse for the people who literally die in disasters, the communities that lose their livelihoods, the kids who go uneducated– you know, America– but it will also humiliate you. I’m confident at least one of those things matters to you, so I hope you’ll reconsider your current MO.
Finally, you and your proxies have created Alternative Facts! Well done, imminently meme-able! That said, all of the weird buzz around the actual size of the crowds at your nomination, the absolutely imaginary illegal voters that lost you the popular vote? I have a toddler and this… this feels like a tantrum. Like something to distract us from the more consequential/potentially illegal things you’re doing. Or maybe you’re deluded and require your staff to share your delusions– a fact worth covering, but until there’s proof not an actual fact. Maybe there’s some third base I’m not covering. Regardless, I think the media and the world at large will do well to separate the wheat from the chaff, and ignore most of your Reality Distortions. When there’s too much to cover, then you have to triage, put the most important things first.
And whether you’re actually obsessed with crowd sizes or not, they’re not actually important. Nobody dies because a crowd gets undercounted. You’re starting to annoy your own party. Probably best to let it go and, I don’t know, lead the Free World. Sorry, that was overly flippant, but it’s still my sincere advice. Get better at your job right now Mister President. We’ve barely recovered from the Financial Crisis of 2008 and without a genuine and competent leader things are going to get worse.
Also, seriously, attend an intelligence briefing every day.
Matthew Z. Wood