The media are finally coming out of denial.
This is Donald J. Trump, and he ain’t going to change.
All the talk about how he would change his style once he got to the White House (which Trump himself encouraged now and then) was misguided.
His bombastic, combative and sometimes frenetic approach to life is what got him elected, so of course he’s going to stick with it. And when aides tell him he needs to change, he’ll obviously think that he heard that advice throughout the campaign he was expected to lose.
Now it’s true that actually becoming president is the ultimate reality check. And that’s true for any new White House occupant. Harry Truman famously said of Dwight Eisenhower, “He’ll sit here, and he’ll say, ‘Do this! Do that!’ And nothing will happen. Poor Ike—it won’t be a bit like the Army.”
And that was inevitable for a real estate mogul who ran his company with an iron hand. A president has to deal with all these checks and balances—Congress, the courts, the opposition party, the media and special interests, as well as other world leaders. And things move far more slowly than in the corporate world.
But anyone who thought Trump would adopt a measured, stately approach doesn’t understand the man. To be sure, he’ll have to adapt to the unique challenges of the presidency. But his bam-bam-bam approach, including the tweeting at all hours, revs up his supporters. And his detractors aren’t likely to warm to him even if he starts reading boring speeches.
The Washington Post makes it official:
“Despite all predictions — including his own — that the country would see a new, more ‘presidential’ Trump once he took office, the commander in chief has barely changed from the impulsive candidate who blew up every political norm that stood between him and the White House.
“He is still tweeting at odd hours, calling people names, promoting his family’s business interests, bragging about crowd sizes, complaining about media coverage and lashing out at anyone who challenges him, including members of his own party and a federal judge. His White House seems just as chaotic, tumultuous and discordant as his campaign was.”
Says Politico: “Being president is harder than Donald Trump thought, according to aides and allies who say that he’s growing increasingly frustrated with the challenges of running the massive federal bureaucracy.
“In interviews, nearly two dozen people who’ve spent time with Trump in the three weeks since his inauguration said that his mood has careened between surprise and anger as he’s faced the predictable realities of governing, from congressional delays over his cabinet nominations and legal fights holding up his aggressive initiatives to staff in-fighting and leaks.”
But wouldn’t any new president face an attitude adjustment when confronting the magnitude of domestic and world problems? Every new president makes mistakes—you could look it up—and tries to grapple with only a fraction of his team in place.
What if what the Post calls his “tumultuous” style works for Trump? Obviously there have been a number of unforced errors, including the rushed travel ban, and policy zig-zags. But Trump’s voters didn’t elect him to preside over a tidy organizational chart. They want results, and unlike the process-obsessed press, they don’t particularly care how he gets there.
Howard Kurtz is a Fox News analyst and the host of "MediaBuzz" (Sundays 11 a.m.). He is the author of five books and is based in Washington. Follow him at @HowardKurtz. Click here for more information on Howard Kurtz.