This is what Donald Trump has done to himself.
My daily email from the New York Times of what’s in the news today included these two consecutive items:
“With Congress failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Trump is ready to go it alone on health care. He plans to sign an executive order today that would relax rules on small businesses that band together to buy health insurance.
“On Wednesday, the president said it was ‘possible’ the U.S. would drop out of the North American Free Trade Agreement. His administration has pushed for significant changes to the deal, but Mexico and Canada say they’re nonstarters.”
I have not studied anything about Trump’s plan to “relax rules on small businesses,” but on its face it sounds like a not-so-bad idea. At least, it doesn’t sound like something that will cause 30 million people to lose health coverage.
However, my gut, my brain and my heart initially reject the idea, because … well … Trump. All my personal alarms cause me to wonder who will be hurt by this.
Seriously, just about anything he’s pushed for in health care – indeed, in just about any field – would have a negative impact on non-rich, more so on non-male, and particularly on non-white people.
So, I read that paragraph and my first thought is, “I wonder who he’s going to screw with this little executive order?”
You see what I’m saying? He’s done this to himself because of his way of doing and undoing things. The vast majority of Americans automatically assume that if he’s going cowboy on an issue to get what he wants, it’s going to hurt a bunch of people.
It’s wrong to do that, but it’s a perfectly natural defensive position.
Now, carry that thought over to the NAFTA headline.
I am certain, in this instance, the leaders of Mexico and Canada are well-informed on Trump’s “significant changes” and are doubtlessly intimately familiar with NAFTA. But what about more general statements that sometimes emanate from the White House?
When another world leader hears that Trump has called for this or threatened that … does he or she give it a single serious consideration?
Why should she, when even his constituents do not trust what comes out of his mouth or off his fingertips? Above all, we have no trust in his character.
Here’s hoping that good news comes from him more often, but I cannot expect it. And, like I said, he’s done it to himself.