There’s a line of thinking out there that too much weight is being placed on the outrageous words coming out of U.S. President Donald Trump’s mouth and there’s not enough focus on what he’s actually doing.
And, to a degree, that may be true. But only to a degree.
That’s because regardless of who sits in the Oval Office, the position of U.S. President is the most powerful in the world. And when a president speaks, not only do people listen, the words carry weight like no others.
That’s why his reported characterization of African countries as “sh**holes” in a meeting last week is so concerning. Once the initial shock of such a phrase coming out of a sitting president’s mouth wears off, the questions about why he would say such a thing, what it tells us about his personal beliefs and what impact it will have on future U.S. government policy spring to the fore.
Trump’s ability to get legislation passed in his country’s Congress may have been limited during his first year in power but that doesn’t mean he didn’t do—and say—a lot. Using executive orders more than any of his predecessors, Trump made plenty of moves to roll back advances made by previous administrations, especially that of the man who preceded him in the Oval Office, Barack Obama.
Often, it seemed, Trump’s moves were made as much to eradicate any legacy Obama may have left as they were to advance public policy in the U.S.
And through it all, Trump couldn’t just do the job he was elected to do. He had to throw in self-aggrandizement, insult, exaggeration and flat-out untruth after untruth.
For Americans, the last year has been like no other in the history of their federal politics.
But it’s not just been Americans who have suffered under Trump’s version of how a president should act. Other counties and their leaders have also been the target of his barbs—and in some cases, more than just his words.
Canada is facing the demise of the North American Free Trade Agreement thanks to Trump’s personal protectionist stance, a move that could have major consequences for this country. His incendiary rhetoric about North Korea is inflaming an already tense situation when it comes to nuclear weapons and dealing with that country’s unpredictable leader Kim Jong Un and his environmental policies could have a damaging effect on the planet for years to come.
Given his ongoing penchant for turning to Twitter to publicly complain about, or insult, adversaries, many now seem to shrug off the presidents tweets as just Trump being Trump.
But for a man who has proclaimed himself to be a “very stable genius,” his approach to governing—i.e. an inability to look at the what’s good for his country instead of focusing on what he feels makes him look good—is far from smart.
Trump ran for office on a slogan saying he would “make America great again.”
Unfortunately, all he has done is make himself—and America by extension—a worrisome laughing stock.
As Trump would say when criticizing others: Sad.
Alistair Waters is the assistant editor of the Capital News.