A mature and responsible adult, upon entering into new and unaccustomed but major responsibilities, usually takes time to learn the job, to consider important policy changes with care, to make certain they will actually work, and to explain them clearly. Such a person understands the difference between decisiveness and impulsiveness. This would be especially true of someone with no experience whatsoever in the field.

President Donald Trump has instead claimed that we can protect America’s health and environment while abolishing federal regulations. Taking extreme positions like this actually makes it much harder to do the important work of making our regulations more sensible, transparent, effective, and less likely to have unpleasant side effects. He has issued a stream of mostly ill-considered executive orders. He has offended an important neighbor and ally, not to mention many of our own citizens. He has shown the world that there is little point in trying to negotiate trade agreements with us.

The chances of this kind of behavior “Making America Great Again” are remote. No doubt, thoughtful ones among his own appointees are embarrassed by his antics. Those of us who, despite not being his supporters, had hoped for a better performance, are entitled to be disappointed.

Nobody expects a new president to fix the nation’s complex problems in a week. Comes now Mr. Bannon, the propaganda minister of the alt-right, telling the press to “shut up.” He ought to be telling the president to learn to do his job before speaking. There is no rush.

Trump was not robbed of his chance to show us he can govern — he threw it away.

Lloyd C. Irland


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