President Donald Trump fought a constitutional battle with the House of Representatives to fulfill his campaign promise of building a wall along the southern border.
He ordered his military to wipe out ISIS, which controlled an area larger than the state of Indiana when he took office, and it has done so. He campaigned on a pro-growth tax cut package and delivered with the largest tax cut in American history in whole dollars and record-low unemployment for African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians and women.
He has badgered NATO countries into keeping their defense spending promises, brought China’s economy to its knees with his tariffs and remade the energy market landscape with his push for domestic exploration.
But according to the New York Times, his big problem now is indecision. He is consumed with how things will play. Division within his administration is preventing action on gun control and other matters. He “seems stymied” as to what to accomplish next. He has so little vision of where he wants to take the country next that his only appeal at his boisterous rallies is summarized in his statement: “You have no choice but to vote for me.”
And a key reason for all this, wrote Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni in “For Trump, a Time of Indecision,” is that the woman who “had been one of the president’s few organizing influences” – his secretary, Madeleine Westerhout – got fired last month for revealing Trump family secrets in a drunken evening with reporters at the president’s Bedminster, N.J., golf course.
The premise of the piece is that Trump hasn’t moved on gun control because he hasn’t found a sweet spot – legislation that would have a meaningful effect on reducing mass shootings but not abridge Second Amendment rights. He would love to do something “very meaningful” on background checks, they wrote, but for “warnings from gun rights advocates and Republican lawmakers about the political blowback” have “led to indecision about what to do and what the time frame is for sharing it.”
But “idling in neutral is not something the president is doing only on guns,” they wrote. He wants to accomplish something big, he’s told his staff, according to anonymous sources and advisers who may or may not be in the White House or even know Trump personally. “But he’s stymied as to what it might be.”
He hasn’t decided what to do about Iran’s alleged bombing of Saudi oil fields. He appears to be “tempering his aggressive vows to impose a ban on all flavored vaping products” because his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, told him it may not play well with conservative supporters, according to anonymous sources whose position to have heard this conversation or be able to reliably relate it are not mentioned.
To further understand the president’s reported indecision, Haberman and Karni turned to Peter Ambler, who runs an organization “tackling gun violence” and David Axelrod, a TV talking head and former top adviser to President Obama.
“It requires stepping out of entertainment frame and into a political leadership frame,” said Peter Ambler, the anti-Second Amendment advocate. “He’s no strong enough to forge any sort of compromise that would get anything less than full support from his base. He does not have that degree of political power or savvy, and that’s why he ends up in a perpetual ‘Infrastructure Week.’”
Axelrod said the president just has too much going on to finalize decisions. “There’s a lot of balls in the air here, and it’s not quite clear how he’s going to catch them, or where they’re going to land,” he said. “On some things, he has strong opinions, but on many things, he doesn’t. If you don’t have some core organizing principles, other than your own political well-being, it’s easy to get lost.”