In one of several interviews President Trump has been granting for the countdown to the end of his first 100 days in office, the President told Reuters news that he though being president would be easier than his prior job as a real estate developer, and he somewhat laments the difficulty involved with running the nation’s affairs.
Story from Reuters:
He misses driving, feels as if he is in a cocoon, and is surprised how hard his new job is.
President Donald Trump on Thursday reflected on his first 100 days in office with a wistful look at his life before the White House.
“I loved my previous life. I had so many things going,” Trump told Reuters in an interview. “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.” [Emphasis added]
A wealthy businessman from New York, Trump assumed public office for the first time when he entered the White House on Jan. 20 after he defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an upset.
Is he … serious? That quote reminds me of reports from the first few days of starting his transition back in November about how he didn’t realize the scope involved with how many people the executive branch had to staff and maintain. Flashback to November 13, 2016, via Business Insider:
President-elect Donald Trump celebrated his status as a Washington outsider during his campaign for the presidency, but his lack of familiarity with the US government appears to be coming into view as he transitions to the White House.
During Trump’s private meeting with President Barack Obama on Thursday, Trump “seemed surprised” by the scope of the president’s responsibilities, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.
Trump’s aides were also apparently unaware that the entire staff of the president working in the White House’s West Wing would need to be replaced, according to The Journal.
Many people, including myself, questioned the veracity of these reports as perhaps just cheap shots from the prior administration trying to make the new president look ill-prepared. It turns out, perhaps he was ill-prepared and this was the reality of heading into Election Day as the under dog, not expecting to win.
But back to the Reuters interview with the President on his first 100 days. Clearly he seems to have enjoyed winning during the campaign far more than the grinding days of governing:
“Here, you can take that, that’s the final map of the numbers,” the Republican president said from his desk in the Oval Office, handing out maps of the United States with areas he won marked in red. “It’s pretty good, right? The red is obviously us.”
He had copies for each of the three Reuters reporters in the room.
Trump, who said he was accustomed to not having privacy in his “old life,” expressed surprise at how little he had now. And he made clear he was still getting used to having 24-hour Secret Service protection and its accompanying constraints.
“You’re really into your own little cocoon, because you have such massive protection that you really can’t go anywhere,” he said.
He keeps the 2016 electoral map nearby, likely as a reminder of how much fun it was to hold rallies and skewer your political opponents all day long. Compared to that, the job of actually being the President isn’t much fun.
I’d say that some of these feelings he’s having are probably just human, all presidents experience some level of emotional adjustment to life inside the Oval Office cocoon. However, it also speaks to the difference between electing a politician versus electing a businessman. Your average sitting U.S. Senator or your average state Governor probably can give you a rundown of the massive duties involved with an office such as the Presidency of the United States. It’s not entirely unlike being the President and CEO of an international real estate firm, but it also comes with an entirely different set of rules to function within that don’t exist in the business world.
For Trump, I think the hardest lesson he’s learned so far is that dealing with political opposition, on explosive issues like health care, is far more difficult than dealing with a business foe. If you typically work in the world where you think most everyone “has their price,” and just needs the right level of finessing, you may be shocked to find that strongly entrenched ideological people on both sides of the aisle can’t be bought as easily, since they live and die by re-election, and they need to keep their constituents happy.
Democrats will not simply roll over on repealing ObamaCare anymore than Republicans will roll over on things like gun control or tax hikes, it isn’t that simple to negotiate against political beliefs.
The savior in Trump’s inner circle on this matter is probably Vice President Mike Pence. This is someone who spent years in the U.S. House, then was elected as Governor of Indiana, then become Trump’s VP. Pence knows the ins and outs of legislating, and I think if it were not for Pence, Trump would be worse off when it comes to dealing with Congress.
Perhaps the next 100 days will be less disappointing for Trump, with some lowered expectations, now that the first 100 days are just about in the history books.