Reich’s Counsel To Trump: Grow Up

by James M. Wallford22a-4-web

New York Daily News headline published October 30, 1975, is one of the most famous headlines in modern journalism.

The headline did not quote President Gerald Ford, but it editorialized exactly what the Daily News wanted to convey.

The headline read: “Ford to City: Drop Dead“.

The succinct reference was explained by writer Frank Van Riper in his opening Daily News paragraph: “President Ford declared flatly today that he would veto any bill calling for ‘a federal bail-out of New York City’ and instead proposed legislation that would make it easier for the city to go into bankruptcy.”

Van Riper’s second paragraph from 1975, conveyed more of Ford’s distress over the city: “In a speech before the National Press Club, Ford coupled repeated attacks on the city’s fiscal management with a promise that, if default came, the federal government would see to it that ‘essential public services for the people of New York City’ would be maintained”.

President Ford was not dismissing the people of New York. He was dissing their political leadership. 

The headline on this posting (above) does not quote former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich. It is intended, rather, in the spirit of the New York Daily News, to convey Reich’s meaning.

What provoked Reich and led to his counsel, was Donald Trump’s final 2016 tweet: “Happy New Year to all, including to my many enemies and those who have fought me and lost so badly they just don’t know what to do. Love!”

Robert Reich explains why that Trump tweet is so dangerous and so wrong:

The man who is about to become President of the United States continues to exhibit a mean-spirited, thin-skinned, narcissistic and vindictive character [who] sees the world in terms of personal wins or losses, enemies or friends, supporters or critics.

Reich’s closing word to Trump was his hope that the president-elect would simply “grow up” and discover the missing maturity of an adult soon to be president. Reich wrote:

You have 20 days in which to learn how to act as a president. All of us – even those who oppose your policies and worry about your character – sincerely hope you do.

Based on Trump’s compulsive adolescent tweeting and his crony-inspired cabinet choices, Reich’s counsel is badly-needed. Unfortunately, everything we have heard or seen from president-elect Trump assures us the counsel will be rejected. 

The man we elected as our next president is a former TV reality-show rich guy who defeated 15 Republican wanna-be presidential candidates, and then outran his establishment-blessed Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, to become the 45th president of the United States.

Trump’s long-running gig for TV’s The Celebrity Apprentice, is no longer available. It has been filled by another larger-than-life personality, twice-elected California governor and international movie superstar Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Trump’s old reality show even has a new name. Starting with the 2017 season premier that aired on Fox Monday night, the new name is, get ready for the drumroll, folks: The New Celebrity Apprentice.2016-0513-nbcu-upfront-2016-thecelebrityapprentice-about-image-1920x1080-ns

In any case, these days Donald Trump is too busy for TV reality shows. He is busy both with his compulsive tweets, and the construction of his cabinet.

The Democratic Party poo-bahs promise to examine Trump’s choice closely before they allow Senate confirmations.,

If he loses a few of his Cabinet preferences, Trump has a deep bench of wealthy moguls and Republicans he considers Trumpites, to bring into the game.

He will need his bench. The Boston Globe reports that Democratic Senate Minority leader, Chuck Schumer (NY), has notified Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Majority leader, that the Democrats will zero in on at least eight of Trump’s proposed cabinet appointees (bold face type added), listed by The Boston Globe.

Rex Tillerson, Trump’s choice for secretary of state; current Senator Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican who’s Trump’s choice for attorney general; Representative Mick Mulvaney, a South Carolina Republican tapped to lead the Office of Management and Budget; and Betsy DeVos, set to serve as education secretary.

Additional names expected to be under pressure from Schumer’s forces include: Representative Tom Price of Georgia, Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services and oversee changes to Obamacare. He will be attacked by Democrats for his support for privatizing Medicare.

Andrew Puzder, a restaurant executive set to serve as labor secretary, will face scrutiny for past comments on the minimum wage, among other policies. Also on the Democrats’s close-watch list are Steve Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs partner set to serve as treasury secretary, and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, Trump’s pick to lead the EPA.

Senator Schumer fired the first shot in the confirmation battle when he reported  the Senate Democrats’ plans:

President-elect Trump is attempting to fill his rigged cabinet with nominees that would break key campaign promises and have made billions off the industries they’d be tasked with regulating/

Any attempt by Republicans to have a series of rushed, truncated hearings before Inauguration Day and before the Congress and public have adequate information on all of them is something Democrats will vehemently resist. If Republicans think they can quickly jam through a whole slate of nominees without a fair hearing process, they’re sorely mistaken.

Not on the Democratic hit list are retired Marine General James N. Mattis, set to serve as defense secretary; Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina, who Trump has nominated to serve as ambassador to the United Nations; and John Kelly, a former Marine general and Trump’s selection to lead the Department of Homeland Security.

On Sunday, the president-elect received what he should feel is the “good news” that his proclivity to reshape the truth to suit his purposes, was granted  a free pass by one major news outlet, the conservative Wall Street Journal.

In an appearance on Meet the Press, the WSJ editor-in-chief Gerard Baker, said his paper has a strong desire to maintain what he described as “objectivity”. 

The Informed Comment website quoted Baker as saying, “The Wall Street Journal would not call a lie a lie if it was told by President-elect Donald Trump”

Politico has more on the Baker comments:

Wall Street Journal editor Gerard Baker said that despite the fact Trump often makes “questionable” and “challengeable” statements, he’s instructed his staff to keep their social media postings straight laced in order to maintain the trust of the readers.

Asked by host Chuck Todd whether he’d be willing to call out a falsehood as a “lie” like some other news outlets have done, Baker demurred, saying it was up to the newspaper to just present the set of facts and let the reader determine how to classify a statement.

“I’d be careful about using the word, ‘lie.’ ‘Lie’ implies much more than just saying something that’s false. It implies a deliberate intent to mislead,” Baker said, noting that when Trump claimed “thousands” of Muslims were celebrating on rooftops in New Jersey on 9/11, the Journal investigated and reported that they found no evidence of a claim.

“I think it’s then up to the reader to make up their own mind to say, ‘This is what Donald Trump says. This is what a reliable, trustworthy news organization reports. And you know what? I don’t think that’s true.’ I think if you start ascribing a moral intent, as it were, to someone by saying that they’ve lied, I think you run the risk that you look like you are, like you’re not being objective,” he said.

Wrong, dead wrong. Handing Donald Trump unchecked freedom to say things that are not true, is irresponsible journalism. 

Media alert: Our new President must not be allowed to get away with saying, “the dog ate my homework”.

About wallwritings

From 1972 through 1999, James M. Wall was editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine, based in Chicago, lllinois. He was a Contributing Editor of the Century from 1999 until July, 2017. He has written this blog, wall, since it was launched April 27, 2008. If you would like to receive Wall Writings alerts when new postings are added to this site, send a note, saying, Please Add Me, to Biography: Journalism was Jim's undergraduate college major at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. He has earned two MA degrees, one from Emory, and one from the University of Chicago, both in religion. He is an ordained United Methodist clergy person. He served for two years in the US Air Force, and three additional years in the USAF reserve. While serving on active duty with the Alaskan Command, he reached the rank of first lieutenant. He has worked as a sports writer for both the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, was editor of the United Methodist magazine, Christian Advocate for ten years, and editor and publisher of the Christian Century magazine for 27 years. James M Wall died March 22, 2021 at age 92. His family appreciates all of his readers, even those who may have disagreed with his well-informed writings.
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8 Responses to Reich’s Counsel To Trump: Grow Up

  1. Richard Falk says:

    Thanks for your perceptive and persuasive ‘Wall Writings,’ and despite forebodings, wishes for a fulfilling year in 2017.

  2. Blake McFarland says:

    Have no fear, Mr. Wall.

    The oddsmakers around the world are predicting
    that Trump will not survive the Presidency.

    The consensus is he will be impeached!

  3. Jack Graham says:

    The odds makers everywhere have consistently underrated Mr. Trump from the day he announced his campaign to become President. I wouldn’t bet on what they predict.

    The main chance that he will be impeached is that he might treat Israel as a foreign power and America First, — then the Israel Lobby might try to buy off Congress again.

    I have not seen one objective, fair-minded, well-founded criticism of Trump yet, and I must say I do not personally like him. He gives me a bad taste in my mouth, but it is impossible for any clear-thinking observer not to respect him for what he has accomplished thus far

  4. Charlton Price says:

    Mr. Graham and other readers of Wall Writings:

    What has the President-Elect “accomplished so far”?

  5. J. Martin Bailey says:

    I don’t remember ever feeling so hopeless about the state of our country. We are in for some mud-slinging right and left. What’s worse, I don’t (yet?) see strong leadership from any of our elected officials. Maybe, just maybe, our civil servants will keep us on something like an even keel. I look forward to your ability to see beyond the moment, Jim. Thanks for your sensitivity and insights.

  6. Jim Patterson says:

    Jim: Good work, especially the last line!!! JP from PP

  7. Jack Graham says:

    Carlton Price, — Excellent question. What has Mr. Trump accomplished thus far? Against impossible odds, Mr. Trump defeated the major media which speak for a banking cartel on Wall Street, and this cartel is what Charles A. Lindbergh Jr. properly called the “invisible government” of the United States, and has always been disloyal to the American people, destructive of our Constitution, productive of wars and recessions, guilty of excessive free trade and insufficient tariffs in our dealings with foreign nations, and generally up to no good. Since the immortal William Jennings Bryan, who was the greatest American statesman since the surrender at Appomattox, and still never exceeded, neither major political party has been independent or, or capable of defeating this wicked combination of high finance, — but our President-elect has done it, and, if he does nothing else– and I suspect he will accomplish much more –, he is one of the most remarkable political leaders of the United States in the 21st century. I don’t like Mr. Trump, but humbly respect him for what he has accomplished thus far and is likely to accomplish in coming hears.

  8. Jack Graham says:

    Excuse me. In my previous comment, answering Carlton Price, I meant Congressman Charles A. Lindbergh Sr, not the aviator, the Congressman’s more famous son. The Congressman is Minnesota’s greatest statesman who spoke truth so clearly that he has been buried in Minnesota’s politics, as one might expect for the so-called “squeaky clean” State.

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