Trump, president de jure

Trump did not want to be US president, new book claims

Based on his prior work, such as an unflattering 2008 biography of Rupert Murdoch, the author is biased, and it’s possible he is only choosing quotes and anecdotes that make Trump look bad. Also, he may have fabricated quotes, has he allegedly did in earlier book, Burn Rate, about the late 90’s dotcom bubble. “In its review of Wolff’s book Burn Rate, Brill’s Content criticized Wolff for ‘apparent factual errors’and said that 13 people, including subjects he mentioned, complained that Wolff had ‘invented or changed quotes’.”

“And making suggestions to him was deeply complicated. Here, arguably, was the central issue of the Trump presidency, informing every aspect of Trumpian policy and leadership: He didn’t process information in any conventional sense. He didn’t read. He didn’t really even skim. Some believed that for all practical purposes he was no more than semi-literate. He trusted his own expertise — no matter how paltry or irrelevant — more than anyone else’s,” the author claimed.

The evidence suggests Trump outsourced/delegated the job being President to his staff, making him more of a figurehead than an active participant, sorta like the British nobility. All presidents do this to some degree, but trend seems to be more common and pronounced among Republicans than Democrats.

Jimmy Carter holds the record of the fewest days on vacations, just 79, versus over 335 for Reagan. Bush famously had his Crawford Texas ranch, where he spent a lot of time, and like Trump, didn’t like to get bogged down too much in the minutia of policy. The Clinton presidency was effectively a triumvirate composed of Bill, his wife, and Al Gore. But Pence and Melania, by contrast, are in the background and don’t play a role in policy. Clinton, Obama, LBJ, Carter, Kennedy, etc. played an active role in policy, than delegating and overseeing (which is why I have likened Trump to a manager more so than a commander or leader). Nixon, for example, deferred extensively to Kissinger. For George W. Bush, famously (or infamously, depending on your political preference), it was Dick Cheney. Reagan, in his first term, deferred extensively to James Baker, described by some as the most effective and powerful presidential chief-of-staff in modern American history. An exception to this is George H. W. Bush, who did minimal delegating.

From the book, Trump confided with business leaders that he would relax H-1B visa restrictions, in contrast to his hard-line anti-immigration stand during the campaign.

If true, this could explain why progress have been slow regarding immigration and other domestic policy (such as ‘returning jobs to America’ or infrastructure) and why it sometimes seems like Trump isn’t really trying hard enough. George H. W. Bush (an underrated president) cared a lot about domestic policy. Although foreign policy may seem harder than domestic, it can be delegated more easily–the President and foreign leaders shake hands, exchange greetings, have their photos taken, and it’s done. This sort of air of aristocratic detachment among the ‘right’ could explain why the ‘left’ is more effective at implementing left-wing policy, than the right is at right-wing policy, so the result is liberalism (at least in terms of culture) tends to win.

The tenor of the news cycle makes it seem like the administration is falling apart, and maybe it is (although I don’t agree it is), yet everything else seems to be operating smoothly (in terms of the economy, domestic policy, and foreign policy), which is an interesting observation and illustrates the dichotomy between the public sector, which is slow and dysfunctional, and the private sector, which is efficient and expedient. It’s a testament to the strength and importance of the private sector, that it not only remains functional when everything else isn’t, but that it keeps the economy and nation as a whole running.

Perhaps America, in many respects, is a parliamentary quasi-monarchy, except an elective monarch instead of hereditary one. Sometimes publicly traded companies will go months without a CEO, such as during transition periods, without any negative effect on the stock price; makes you wonder how important CEOs really are, or if CEOs are indispensable.

This is evidence a minarchist system or an anarcho-monarchy could work and or already exists in America to some extent, of a strong private sector but a comparatively weak and hamstrung government that oversees everything but otherwise does not interfere too much. The downside is that, as we see with immigration and excessive entitlement spending, such a system may not govern effectively and or may enact policy that is deleterious. I’m skeptical this can fixed with absolute monarchy, because bad policy is invariant to the number of people that enact it. Rather, systems need to be in place to minimize the consequences of bad policy, similar to how the private sector works well in this regard.