The Corner

Politics & Policy

Trump, Just As Advertised

I have an essay on the topic in Business Week. Here’s the opening:

Donald Trump promised he’d be a different kind of president, and he’s certainly delivered.

He’s not one of those politicians who campaigns as one sort of person and then governs as quite another. While voters were weighing him as a possible president, he made it clear that he saw the norms of American politics and government as contemptible. He showed himself to have excellent instincts—or at least an eye for the main chance—but not to be interested in the details of public policy or inclined to listen to those who are. A small circle of family and close friends were the only people whose counsel he took to heart. He had no guiding political principles but placed immense value on personal loyalty to him. His words weren’t meant to be taken as literally as those of other politicians, and he was much less coy than they were about bragging.

Some people hated all these traits and thought they rendered him unfit for office. Others loved them, or thought they were tolerable given what they saw as the need to blow up a dysfunctional Washington that was incapable of solving dire national problems. What no one on either side can honestly say is that they have cause for shock at the style of Trump’s governance. . . .

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.