As the nation churns in the turmoil generated by the current administration’s inconsistencies, Donald Trump is running out of opportunity to right the course of his presidency. For a man who has been unable to tame his own tongue and rein in his erratic policies and ego, the only goal right now should be to put his houses in order — the White one, the capitol ones, and the ones across the country where, in every living room, American families remain uncertain about the nation’s immediate future.
While foreign diplomacy is a cornerstone of American democracy, it is but one stone in a quickly decaying foundation. The president’s first foreign trip is fast approaching on Friday and with negative press swirling, the trip appears to be a less-than hopeful prospect for Trump. Instead, it has the offensive undertones of rats leaving a sinking ship or miscreants slinking away in the night.
Throughout history, troubled leaders and despots have scurried away from their failed policies and institutions. The upcoming five-nation trip seems too much like a Southwest Airlines ad from a few years ago: “Need to get away?”
Trump’s quandaries grew exponentially this week. An empty White House for the next eleven days will do little to reassure the American public that the iconic mansion remains the symbol of stability and leadership that it represents.
President Trump should do the mature — and maybe not so fun and glamorous — thing before he boards Air Force One on Friday. He should ask the White House chefs to whip up a few humble pies and take a so-called staycation to do some housework. The largest issues dogging the president are not in Saudi Arabia, Israel, or the Vatican. They are in his backyard.
From the beginning of the Trump candidacy and campaign, venues across the country reverberated with the promises of “America First.” The time has come for voters to collect on that promise. There is no priority in the fading view of a nation in crisis from 33,000 feet over the Atlantic.
If there is to be an American itinerary from Trump for the next four years, it must begin now. It cannot include Mar-a-Lago, golf, or even foreign visits right now. The only agenda the White House needs to focus on for the immediate future is the American people. In his capacity as a private business executive Trump may not be accustomed the idea of accountability as either the owner of bankrupt casinos or defunct universities, but the White House is neither the Taj Mahal nor a cardboard classroom.
Placing America first at this juncture necessitates that nation’s elected leaders ground the president — from the air and in reality. However, if the Washington machine cannot sway Trump to keep from taking to the skies, there may be options. One would be an embarrassment for the country to have Trump sent home like a truant child.
The other is a little more subtle. The pilot in charge of Air Force One could refuse to fly. As captain of the aircraft, the PIC is certainly authorized to make safety-related decisions. Imagine the look on Trump’s face when the pilot tells him, “I’m sorry Mr. President. We can’t take off…you simply have too much baggage.”