I’ve written you once already, and it appears you haven’t read my letter. I even published it nationally in the hope that it would catch your eye. I guess it didn’t.
Your inauguration was less than a month ago, and I must say that I’m getting a sinking feeling already. I’m disappointed because between election day and the inauguration, it seemed as though you were adopting a more presidential approach toward to things. But I will admit I was still wary and nervous.
One of the behind-the-scenes complaints about President Obama was that he always considered himself above the fray, never got in and rolled his sleeves up and really made an attempt to get to know the people he had to work with; that he rarely spent time listening to people in the trenches, from his own supporters and party, to say nothing of the opposition party. House Speaker Paul Ryan recently said on the Michael Medved show that in your first ten days in office, he’d met with you more often than he had with President Obama in a full eight years in office.
It was a brilliant move when you actually met with union leaders at the White House, to get to know their concerns and hear what they had to say. We all know that unions, as a group (at the leadership level, at least), weren’t your biggest fans. Sworn enemies is a better term. And yet, you took the time to sit down with them and listen to them and let them know their worries mattered to you. It was one of the smartest political moves in recent memory, very reminiscent of Reagan and Lincoln. In that one move, you outmaneuvered one of the slickest politicians in recent memory.
Unfortunately, it looks like it’s ended there.
Is This Really How You Make a Deal?
During your campaign, you said how great you are at making deals. You told us that even before you thought about running for President, we all remember The Art of the Deal—years before all this insanity started. Supposedly, you’ve been in this deal-making business a long time.
“Art” is the operative word here. Art to mind calls subtlety, delicacy, nuances and shadings, working to get everything right.
Now, Mr. President, I realize until now your companies were all privately held, so you haven’t had to answer to a board of directors or shareholders. You’ve been the only person you’ve had to answer to. You’re the President of the United States now. That means you’ve got almost 320 million shareholders who are watching and worrying anxiously over what you’re doing.
We even want immigration controlled. I’m an immigrant, my wife is an immigrant, and many of my associates are immigrants or have them in their families. But to issue an executive order using a list compiled by the previous administration for limiting immigration, without looking at all the parameters first, I have to ask, is this really how you make a deal? You left your own press secretary twisting in the wind when you rolled the thing out. Your Defense Secretary nominee was speechless, gulping like a guppy as he was testifying before Congress at the moment it came out.
Isn’t part of making a deal sitting down and talking things over, with both sides talking about what they need, and how they’d like the thing to work out before making a final decision? In this case, it would have been a good idea to look over the countries included in the list, maybe even talk with some people before issuing the Executive Order.
And then you tell the Senate to consider the nuclear option when it comes to votes on your cabinet appointees. Mr. President, the Senate leaders have been doing this longer than you have. They know when it’s time to go nuclear and when to work it out. This is a dance. Trust them. If they think they don’t trust them this soon, it’s going to be hard working together.
And what’s this I hear about you hanging up on the Australian Prime Minister? And you call other people dumb? Yes, we know Obama put you in a bad place with that deal, but you’ve got to remember, Mr. President that the people you’re dealing with now are people with a lot of power, just like you. And they also represent millions and millions of people who also want the best for their countries. (They even have armies and navies at their command.) You do realize that Australia is America’s most loyal ally. They’ve allied themselves with the United States in every major conflict since they’ve been a nation, even more than Great Britain. Is hanging up on Malcolm Turnbull really the way to strengthen our friendships and secure our place in the world? I hear some of your other phone calls to other world leaders have ended badly as well.
We want you to make our country strong again, and keep it as that shining city on the hill. But when you set about to do that, there are a lot of moving parts and lots of people to deal with. Ticking them off doesn’t work.
You’ve been in office less than a month, and I’ve got a sinking feeling.
Please, I’m begging you to show that you know truly understand the art of the deal, with all of its delicacy, subtlety, and nuances. Playing that way doesn’t mean you’re weak. Remember Ronald Reagan often got up and walked away from the table when the deal wasn’t right. Try learning from those who have gone before.