Murnane: Trump lacks everything needed to lead country

Posted8/3/2017 5:43 PM

Donald Trump does not understand what Americans want -- or need -- in their President.

It's not simply an issue of whether Americans want someone who leans to the right and pleases conservatives or someone who leans to the left and pleases liberals.


No, even without admitting it, most Americans want someone who at least seems to have his (or her) head together and who will act generally in the best interests of our country.

There is a lot of wiggle room in the definition of "best interests." Just like beauty, "best interests" is in the eye of the beholder.

Americans -- Republicans and Democrats -- would like to think their president is able to pick a staff that works together in the president's best interests, which generally should be in the best interests of the country.

Certainly, there may be staff people who lack experience. Not every new employee has White House experience on Day One.

I know from personal experience.

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In Trump's situation, it almost seems as if he is trying to create dissension and distrust among key staffers, even among the highest ranking members of his administration, not just members of his staff, but people who serve in critically important jobs, such as the attorney general.

Regardless of political leaning, Americans want to have a leader who generally will make the right decisions.

There is an understanding that not all leaders, politicians, legislators, mayors, governors and presidents will always take the position John or Jane Citizen would take. But we do expect our elected officials to act in ways we understand, even if we strongly disagree.

Trump has been given the benefit of the doubt, and time and time again he has stubbed his toe or flat-out failed.

Trump should admit building a wall with Mexico is not a high enough priority -- not a priority at all -- that he needs to keep hammering on.

Why should Mexico have to do it anyway?

How many Americans vacation in Mexico each year and could face a new entry tax if the two countries get into the kind of hissy fit Trump has made one of his main objectives.


Do you wonder who he is listening to? Friends like Anthony Scaramucci, until the "real" Anthony Scaramucci was revealed?

There is no argument right now to indicate Trump is going to lead our country in a direction it -- that's WE -- want and need to go.

I hope the frustration he is feeling, largely because he can't get his own way (and that's because he doesn't understand his own way is not the best way) will cause him to seriously consider stepping down.

I should point out that I began writing this column before the weekend and before the chief of staff fiasco developed.

But even with this Scaramucci/Kelly shake-up, it makes no difference that I waited. The more things change, the more they remain the same, at least in the Donald Trump Administration. Or the more they deteriorate.

For those of you who still defend him, I would point out there are at least seven serious concerns:

• All of this provide distractions for the work that should be done;

• Foreign leaders develop reasons to question his stability, ability and effectiveness as a leader;

• Mexico is a neighbor and should not be vilified and threatened;

• Russia is an equal in many ways and should be dealt with honestly, seriously and bluntly;

• Political opponents in the U.S. are given reason to ride it out as if he'll go away.

• He is giving the United States a black eye. We do not want or need to be an international laughing stock.

• Ed Murnane of Arlington Heights is retired president of the Illinois Civil Justice League and a former staff member for presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He can be reached at

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