While most politicians think incrementally, President Donald Trump imagines historic events, and then enthusiastically pursues them. The meeting this week between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore was historic. If someone had proposed four years ago that this meeting -- and the first step towards denuclearization -- would take place, no one would have imagined it possible.
But here we are.
This event illuminates two of Trump's characteristics that made his election and this meeting possible: imagination and enthusiasm.
From Trump's experience as a builder of hotels and golf courses, he has the ability to imagine what could be; to ask himself: what should the future look like? Few people have the ability to really imagine a future outside the bounds of conventional wisdom. Trump does.
Trump also has the enthusiasm to persevere and to ensure that the future he imagines happens. These two characteristics led him to imagine and achieve this week's meeting.
Trump's ability to imagine a different future was on display during the summit. "Our unprecedented meeting -- the first between an American president and a leader of North Korea -- proves that real change is indeed possible," he told reporters after the meeting
"The past does not have to define the future. Yesterday's conflict does not have to be tomorrow's war."
He then went on to imagine the future that North Korea could enjoy. "There is no limit to what North Korea can achieve when it gives up its nuclear weapons and embraces commerce and engagement with the rest of the world -- that really wants to engage. Chairman Kim has before him an opportunity like no other: to be remembered as the leader who ushered in a glorious new era of security and prosperity for his people."
In addition to possessing great imagination, Trump has enthusiasm, not only for working toward his imagined reality, but also for leading a team to make it possible.
The word "enthusiasm" reminds me of the scene from the movie "The Untouchables," where Al Capone (played by Robert DeNiro) talks about his "enthusiasm." (Yes, great irony that I refer to an actor who cursed Trump at the Tony Awards just before the Singapore summit. Perfect timing to show how out of touch DeNiro and the rest of the loud left are with reality.)
"Enthusiasms... Enthusiasms... What are mine?" says Capone. "What draws my admiration? What is that which gives me joy? (grabs a baseball bat) Baseball! A man stands alone at the plate. This is the time for what? For individual achievement. There he stands alone. But in the field, what? Part of a team. Teamwork.... Looks, throws, catches, hustles -- part of one big team. ... What does he have to say? I'm goin' out there for myself. But... I get nowhere unless the team wins.'"
At this point in the scene, Capone wields the bat to kill a member of his team who he believes is not being true to his team and will not help his team win.
While Trump might appear to be a lone player, that is far from the truth. The ability to lead a complex team toward a common goal is what has led to his success in real estate. This same ability led to the successful summit in Singapore.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo led the team whose members helped lay the groundwork, and his work is not over. Trump provided a charge to Pompeo at end of the news conference, "So Mike, our whole team has to get to work and get it completed. Because otherwise, we've done a good job. But if you don't [get] the ball over the goal line, it doesn't mean enough. OK?"
While Pompeo and team are working on the details, Trump is already imagining another deal, this one with Iran. "I think Iran is a different country now than it was three or four months ago. ... I don't think they're so confident right now," Trump told reporters.
"But I hope -- with that being said, I hope that, at the appropriate time, after these sanctions kick in -- and they are brutal, what we've put on Iran -- I hope that they're going to come back and negotiate a real deal, because I'd love to be able to do that. But right now, it's too soon for that."
Trump's detractors are likely to focus on his controversial tweets and comments and continue to ignore the real progress that he has made. While they imagine a world without Trump, Trump imagines the world that can be, and then enthusiastically sets about making it a reality.