Our leadership won’t come from Trump, but his cabinet; focus on them...

Our leadership won’t come from Trump, but his cabinet; focus on them and support them

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President Donald Trump visited Corpus Christi on Tuesday for a briefing on Hurricane Harvey's destruction.

Kirsten Crow/Caller-Times

Donald Trump won the presidential election.

Donald Trump won the presidential election.

Donald Trump won the presidential election.

So now, can we please stop talking about the election, how many people watched him swear an oath and what Melania Trump is wearing on her feet?

America is in domestic chaos and global crisis. We sit on the precipice of civil and World War. No, I am not hysterical.

Yet.

So the debate is not about whether Donald Trump is president. The debate can no longer be about how he won, no matter how much his supporters want that to be the argument.

What we need now is not debate, but choir practice.

We must figure out a way to let Donald Trump star in his reality show, while we support his administration as it quietly, and with responsible authority, steps up to run the government, going so far as to contradict the president's compulsive announcements about poorly thought-out actions such as banning transgender people from the military or eschewing diplomacy with North Korea.

Nothing made it clearer that this can work than the president's weekend visits to Texas, where he affirmed federal commitment to repairing multibillion damage. If his team can get him to serve as a mascot, making public appearances as he likes to do, holding rallies, as long as he doesn't incite violence, then his team, led by John Kelly, might just get us through the year.

This will help prepare America for the findings of Justice Department investigations into all the president's men and Russia, the president’s business dealings before and after the election and whether Trump is using the White House to make money.

What he does will matter less if he is the face of the presidency while his team does the work of the presidency.

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The timing is urgent: The Trump presidency, not the president, but the administration, must deal with these three issues:

First, North Korea.The country is lobbing bombs like water balloons, and Trump is saber-rattling in return as if global thermonuclear war is not a possibility and this is the second level of a TV game show. He is trying to dismantle the military at a time when he is declaring American forces are ready for world war. And he forced his defense secretary to contradict his latest compulsive statement that “talking is not the answer” with North Korea. After Trump’s blurt, James Mattis had to tell reporters that “We’re never out of diplomatic solutions.”

Second, our budding civil war. Our domestic struggle is not a matter of identity politics. That is much too tame a word for a civil war whose armed battles ended, but whose purpose is still upheld. America has spent more than a century and a half ensuring that it has a second class so that its first class doesn’t feel threatened, and we don’t want to talk about it out loud. Until we do, there will always be attempts to take America back to a time when second-class citizenship was legal. And Donald Trump, either intentionally or not, has become a leader for white nationalists, white supremacists, Nazis and skinheads who have been looking for a leader who allows for their existence. The Trump administration must make clear that their political mission is unwanted in America, because neither they nor Americans who disagree with them believe the president.

Third, domestic infrastructure. America woke up early Tuesday morning — exactly 12 years after Hurricane Katrina struck the gulf coast — to Hurricane Harvey wreaking watery havoc with lives and property, leaving emotional and economic scars that that will take years and billions to fix. Twelve years later, we’ve awakened to the realization that we have learned little in 12 years about improving and repairing America’s infrastructure, from roads to bridges to water piping systems, because we refuse to deal with climate change and what it can do. There is no real national infrastructure plan. We still think we’re in charge of weather. And Flint residents are still drinking bottled water.

It took Trump days to declare that there would be federal support for Texas because he was more focused on using Harvey as an opportunity for better news coverage of his pardon of an Arizona racist.

“Actually, in the middle of a hurricane, even though it was a Friday evening, I assumed the ratings would be far higher than they would be normally,” Trump said in explaining his intent as he forgave the crimes of the former Maricopa County, Ariz. sheriff Joe Arpaio— who was found guilty by a federal judge of criminal contempt for ignoring a court order to stop detaining people because he believed they were illegal immigrants.

That is illegal. His actions were illegal, and Trump didn’t even wait until he was almost out of office to flaunt that he doesn’t care about the law.

Donald Trump was elected for the same reason that Barack Obama was: promise of hope and change.

The difference is that Obama achieved it, mostly by creating a national health insurance system that, though flawed, exists. Trump and the GOP announced that their first order of business would be to get rid of Obama’s signature program, not because it is flawed, but because it was the greatest reminder that Obama, a black man, had been elected president in a country that had never done that before. You can see Sen. Mitch McConnell’s nose crinkle every time he is reminded that the Obama presidency happened.

What must happen now is that all Americans focus on the team, not on Trump (who promised tax reform, immigration reform, job increases, a wall along our southern border that our tax dollars wouldn’t pay for, an end to Common Core education standards and a conservative Supreme Court justice — and achieved one thing: seating an associate justice).

Neil Gorsuch is on the court, but he cannot fix Flint’s water problem, create jobs, write a national health plan or build a wall between the U.S. and our southern neighbor. (Actually, no one will be doing that).

No amount of calls for improved behavior or less tweeting can make Donald Trump stop campaigning, stop tweeting, stop vacationing or stop being unpresidential. The two exceptions — his first address to the nation back in January and his visit to Texas yesterday were major exceptions.

So let's focus on supporting his administration and helping them stand up to him to Keep America Great. It will be up to them to solve our civil crises, our global crises and our numerous domestic government crises.

Donald Trump won the election, but that team of men and women — some of whom truly didn’t know what was in store — must now run the country and we need to separate them from the symbol in the Oval Office.

So yes, Donald Trump won the election. Everyone knows it. That is not the problem. Now America must help those around him govern — and lead.

Contact Rochelle Riley at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @rochelleriley. You can listen to her radio show 6 to 7 p.m. weekdays beginning Tuesday on Detroit 910AM Radio Superstation and at www.910amsuperstation.com/watch-live/#. You can pre-order her new book "The Burden: African Americans and the Enduring Impact of Slavery" (Wayne State University Press, 2018) from Wayne State.


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