This isn’t the first time we’ve seen President Trump have a temper tantrum. But Wednesday’s was one of epic proportions. Because it didn’t just play out in the Rose Garden where the cameras were, it started inside the White House where, just moments before, the president stormed out of a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. In doing so, Trump blew up a plan to put Americans to work by investing $2 trillion in America’s infrastructure including roads, bridges, and airports.
Remember the last time Trump walked out of a meeting with these same people? The government shut down, small businesses were hurt, and 800,000 federal workers went without pay for more than a month. And while it probably felt good at the time, Trump came out the biggest political loser because he wanted credit for shutting down the government.
So, here we are again. This time Trump has decided he is not going to work with Congressional Democrats unless they cease all investigations of him. In other words, only if they stop doing their constitutionally mandated job of conducting oversight. Unbelievable.
Clearly, he doesn’t realize that everything he has done so far -- from stonewalling Congress to walking out of Wednesday’s meeting -- only highlights that he’s hiding something. And whatever he is hiding must be really, really bad.
Why else would the president go to such extreme lengths? If he has nothing to hide and truly wants to be “the most transparent president in history” as he claims, then let the sun shine in.
Make no mistake, Trump’s Herculean effort to conceal whatever he’s hiding is not only undermining the core of our democracy, with Wednesday’s tantrum it’s costing jobs and infrastructure. Specifically, the proposal Democrats had hoped to discuss includes $140 billion to fix roads and bridges, $115 billion to modernize America’s water and sewer systems, and $40 billion to improve our airports and make the airspace safer. And that is literally just the beginning.
You know what $2 trillion in infrastructure spending means? Jobs, millions of them. In fact, the infrastructure plan Democrats proposed last year with half the price tag, would have created 15 million jobs. Imagine doubling that number. Sadly, because of Trump’s temper tantrum imagining is all we can do.
So, was it ego, fear or his often touted fierce negotiating style that led him to slam the door shut on a good deal for America? If it was his negotiating style, we only need to look back at the government shutdown to see how well that worked for him and America’s working families.
I get it. He’s mad. He doesn’t like being under investigation. Who would? If he wants to yell, scream, and throw things in private to get it out of his system, fine (just don’t hurt anyone). But when you are the president of the United States you have an obligation to rise above it for the good of the nation. Even Richard Nixon knew that; Bill Clinton too.
If Trump refuses to rise to the occasion, the political calculation will have to come into play at some point because if he wants to achieve anything he campaigned on, including immigration reform, he’s going to have to work with Democrats even as investigations into his campaign and presidency continue.
Regardless of where you stand on the issue, someone (or many people), will be ultimately exposed. If you are a Republican hardliner, you’re probably hoping it will be Democrats for “overreaching.” If it’s not the Democrats, then it will be the president. Regardless of what you believe, or fear, the truth will come out. In the meantime, the president and leaders in Congress must work together for the good of the nation.
It’s time for the president to swallow hard, put on his big boy pants, and get to work.