Political analyst Jeff Greenfield opines that whether or not we “learn the identity of the ally whose top-secret information the president shared with the Russians,” we nevertheless know for sure that “one of the key reassurances that reluctant Trump supporters” always embraced “now lies in ruins. And that is the assertion — more like a mantra — that ‘the grownups’ will protect the president, and the country, from Trump’s own worst impulses.”
All last year, a dialogue of sorts was taking place on the mainstream right. It went something like this:
“We can’t support Trump; he’s ignorant. Doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, with the impulse control of a hyperactive six-year-old.”
“But he’s the only thing standing between us and a Clinton presidency that will give us a liberal Supreme Court for a generation and a bloated, leftist federal government.”
“OK, but the combination of ignorance and arrogance is an existential threat.”
“But as long as he appoints a seasoned, experienced national security team, we’ll be fine. The grownups will keep him from going off the rails.”
Unfortunately, that’s not the way things work with Trump.
What last week’s Oval Office lovefest with the Russians demonstrated was that the adults are not, in fact, in charge: a 70-year-old man-baby named Donald Trump is. There are just too many ways in which the president — any president, but especially this one — is beyond the restraints of those who serve him.”
No adviser, no matter how sagacious and experienced, can do much damage control when a president can undermine a communications strategy with a tweet (as Trump did about the firing of Comey and as he did on Tuesday morning about that Oval Office meeting). No aide can monitor a president’s conversations and interactions, especially a president who picks up the phone late and night and talks to whomever he wants to about whatever he wants to. Up until now, presidents have embraced the adage that, when they speak, “every word weighs a ton.” It’s why conversations with foreign leaders take on the aspects of ritual, with every communique, every toast, shaped by teams of experts.
This president, by contrast, knows more than generals about ISIS, knows more than intelligence agencies about national security, knows more about anything than anybody. Not long ago, I noted how important it has been for a president to have his assumptions challenged, to bring in someone to tell him “you are on the wrong path.” And I asked, if there is anyone around Trump with the willingness, will he listen?
I think we have always known the answer to that question, but “the events of the last 24 hours make it unmistakable. All the grownups in the world cannot protect us from the man-child in the White House.”