‘The Man Who Would Be President,’ biographer Jon Meacham’s latest book, is available as a hardback and paperback.
This US president seems to have assumed the role of a child tossing a tennis ball, Grand Slams all around the complex. It’s worth recounting how he got here.
Two decades ago, George W. Bush was a teacher and oil executive in Midland, Texas, with two small children. New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was protecting New York from a Wall Street bomb, not eager to become his successor. Their disparate paths crossed, but their lives are in different directions today.
Donald Trump was a dashing multi-millionaire businessman living in Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue apartment building
George W. Bush kept secrets for years. His father, the 42nd president, kept secrets for all his years of public service. Barack Obama kept secrets for the three or four weeks that he was in office before the public learned he was Kenyan. His predecessors kept secrets during campaigns. Barack Obama kept secrets throughout his eight years as commander-in-chief. Trump and his close aides kept secrets in an age when stories and leaks travel faster than ever before.
This has led to its own atmosphere of danger. It is not just the people close to the president who have said or written things that will be used against them. It is also what they left unsaid.
Such is the desperation to put on a good face in public that they tend to hide secrets even when they know they cannot lie in public.
Most historians believe that Obama had a well-developed command of the presidency and did most of the right things to protect the country. They believe that Trump had little command of the presidency. They see the public distaste for him as rooted not just in his failure to bring unity to a divided nation, but in the breathtaking incompetence of his administration. He has failed to deliver on every significant promise to the public. He has done nothing to ensure that they see him as worthy of their trust, and his failure to win any clear victory will have led to his being tagged a loser.
This hurts. When presidents don’t win elections, it crushes them. Presidents tend to dream of a second chance. Presidents deal differently when they are defeated. It is embarrassing.
Donald Trump had been a dashing multi-millionaire businessman living in Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue apartment building. He made his fortune as a property developer, first in New York, then Chicago, and now, as president, in New York. He thought he had everything. He was the sort of guy who could play tennis with his friends without an opponent. Trump would tell the journalist Michael Wolff (who has written a book about him) that he was ‘really rich.’ Now he has made it into a campaign to become president, he thought he was going to get it easy.
He was always a little non-conformist, a businessman with an international flair. Donald Trump likes change, big changes.
He set out from New York to Sydney and Hong Kong and purchased the famous Trump Tower in Manhattan. He would talk to his friends and ask them ‘Do you know what a spire is?’, and make sure that they knew.
Trump has worn colourful hats in the past, a symbol of his confidence. Now he seems to be wearing them all the time.