She looked me straight in the eye. Without even a moment’s hesitation she said it.
“I don’t think,” she said shaking her head slowly, even contemplatively back and forth, side to side. “I don’t think he did this because he loves his country.”
“Then why did he?” I asked. She had no answer.
We were sitting in the green room for the Fox News Outnumbered Overtime show. She is a Democrat strategist and makes her living largely helping Democrats get elected. I’ve seen how hard the life of a political consultant can be, and I have no desire to ever leave talk radio to pursue it.
We were about to go discuss our differing perspectives on North Korea. She sees the President as “acting erratic” and “being temperamental.” My argument is that the back and forth he’s dished out to North Korea’s leader is part of how he has redefined the rules of the Presidency. A man who drives a hard bargain, and one who is committed to causing America to win. By the end of our segment she admitted that she’s pulling for him to strike the grand deal that removes nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula and makes the world safer.
But her words in our pre-segment chat hung in the air and on the back of my mind for days.
Is it possible that Democrats, Resisters & Never-Trumpers actually believe he doesn’t love his country?
Given the idealogical differences Trump opposers have with Trump supporters it’s probably an idea that gets lost. Yet answer yourself a few questions. Why does he rail on government corruption? Why does he insist on an American first foreign policy? Why does he push the idea of punishing countries who have disrupted our ability to produce our goods? Why does he desire to see NFL players respect the anthem and flag? Why does he want Constitutional judges on our nation’s courts? Why does he want everyone in America to have a job, lower taxes, and more income?
You can disagree with his strategies to arrive at any number of goals, but of the goals he’s stated, the intent he’s aiming at, how can any of it be defined as anything other than someone who’s attempting to help his country be it’s best?
I told my Democrat sparring partner a simple idea that I was often struck by during the campaign, and reminded of repeatedly since his inauguration: "What did he have to gain?”
Unlike the vast majority of past presidents—and possibly all of them—Trump is the guy who on day one as President began living a life below the norms of what he had already achieved. His bedroom is smaller. His plane is worse. His schedule is more demanding. His time now belongs to the people—instead of himself. As a titan of industry he never needed to worry his head about the things he now must focus on around the clock.
He has lost over $800,000,000 in personal net worth in his first sixteen months. Nearly every President before him began to gain net worth, and nearly all of them left office far more wealthy than they entered it. This is especially true of Democrats Clinton and Obama.
President Trump had no need to wake up every day and to contemplate religious liberty issues, or pollution regulation, or abortion, or any number of other domestic issues. He surely had nothing in his life screaming out for him to help solve NATO’s funding scandal, how to defeat ISIS, whether to tear up the Iran deal, and how to take down “rocket man.”
So why take them on?
His popularity as a TV boss that “fired” people for performing badly on individual episodes is but a distant memory now that he’s had to fire, demote, excoriate, and purge members of government who were and possibly are committing crimes against “we the people."
And he’s had to do all of it against a backdrop of a steady, but evidence free meme of being accused of using foreign powers to help him win the election.
An election—as a non-politician—he nearly didn’t even run in.
What are his major themes? A safer America, a more prosperous America, a greater America.
Again many, maybe even fifty percent of the country may disagree with his methods, but how does one not agree with his aims?
A bit later the same day as my Fox hit a twitter thread of mostly Never-Trumpers revisited the reasons why they were. As is my impulse too many times I asked some questions. But I was still amazed at how much vitriol there remains amongst a group who may have sixteen months ago had significant reservations about the man with no political record, but who to this day to a person they would be hard pressed to see a major initiative that he had not (more often than not) successfully answered with traditional conservative ideas. (Even their two-second objection to his tariffs has melted away as the Chinese and others have come to the negotiation table to even out imbalanced trade policies with the U.S.)
I myself had significant reservations about President Trump as a candidate. I disliked the level of street fight he would sink to—to win. I was then and am now offended at the revelations of the Access Hollywood bus. And I more or less believe that in his past life President Trump might not have been the moral example I want my sons to see.
However history is replete with men who find dignity, even nobility, in serving at a time and place when they have no reason to. It shapes them. It changes them.
To see a President who understood and could articulate the need for greater protections for people of faith, and to have faithfully moved the nation towards that goal, when he himself doesn’t appear to be a man of great outward displays or practice of faith is remarkable.
To see him surround himself with patriotic, even Godly, influences in some of his closest and most important advisory roles is to admit that he is serious in his endeavors and earnest in his desired outcomes.
I think Trump was no more and no less a sinner (when taking office) than any of our Presidents have ever been.
But if he truly was the ego-driven, self-inflating, internally focused narcissist that others of our Presidents have been, the solution for him would’ve been to never run at all.
He just had better things to do.
Still the resistance persists. Still the Never-Trumpers dream of world where his taint would never touch their outlandish imaginations about previous purity in the political process. Still Democrats say in green rooms, “I don’t think he loves his country.”
But alas none of them ever really have an answer to the bigger question…
“If he doesn’t why does he serve her so earnestly?"