Rich Lowry writes:
His exit from the agreement is another instance of the Trump paradox: The president who says more outlandish and untrue things than anyone who has ever occupied the office of the presidency is also extraordinarily determined to deliver on his big promises.
Trump often doesn’t mean what he says, but when he says what he means — watch out. The combined forces of international pressure, polite opinion, outraged New York Times editorials, resistant advisers and sheer inertia aren’t an obstacle.
This is insightful. Trump doesn’t have much of a grasp on reality or facts but he does have a strong focus on keeping his big promises.
Many of Trump’s loose promises in the campaign weren’t remotely deliverable. He wasn’t really going to forswear vacations as president. He’s not going to give us 6 percent GDP growth. He was never going to bring back waterboarding or kill the relatives of terrorists, or for that matter, drop Bowe Bergdahl out of an airplane over Afghanistan with no parachute.
Heh that last one was so typically Trumpian.
But on his signature pledges, he’s been committed, usually more than anyone around him. He’s been particularly stalwart on those promises that require blasting through entrenched conventional wisdom and elite resistance. In the areas run-of-the-mill politicians would shrink from — ditching or delaying their pledges indefinitely—he has gladly grasped the nettle.
What was most remarkable about Trump’s promise to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. Embassy there wasn’t that he said it—every recent president made similar sounds—but that he actually did it.
Yep and the world did not end when he made the decision. In fact the reaction was muted. A few days of protests.
But it’s not at all clear that another GOP president, even if he was on record favoring these moves, would have pulled out of the Paris climate accord and withstood the howls about imperiling the planet; or ended DACA despite all the media pressure to keep it; or exited the Iran deal with the Europeans waging an intense lobbying campaign in its favor.
It wasn’t simply that these decision had opponents. Their opponents were over-represented in (allegedly) sophisticated circles with disproportionate cultural clout. Even conservatives who disdain the elite feel this cultural pull. Whereas Trump, who has never been house-trained as a politician, is more immune to it. He may, at one level, crave the approval of respectable opinion, but on another, he is perfectly content to defy and outrage it.
So he is following through where others might equivocate or back off.
It’s a problem for those who believe a promise was a bad promise. What is worse – breaking a promise, or implementing a bad promise. Trump obviously thinks they were good promises.
He’s not telling the truth about the Stormy Daniels controversy and is unlikely to unless his hand is somehow forced.
His problem is not cheating on his wife with porn stars. Everyone knows he did, and few are surprised he would and did. But the cover up may bring him down, as it almost did with Clinton.
When Trump was elected, it seemed he might be endlessly flexible and up for grabs. He certainly is willing to say anything at any time, as he demonstrated in televised congressional meetings on immigration and gun policy. But he hasn’t shifted or shrunk from the core commitments that defined his candidacy.
So far, “he said he would do this,” has been a remarkably reliable guide to the Trump agenda.
So will he get his wall?