Sunday, 19 February 2017

A month in, Trump tells us what to think of him

Of the many bosses I’ve had the privilege to meet over a long career, one of the more memorable impressed me particularly when he called his entire team together and announced to us that, “I’m very good at what I do”.

Most of my fellow-attendees seemed to agree with him. They were smiling and nodding, their eyes shining with admiration. My own different sentiments probably left me in a minority of one, making me something of a jarring note in a company that was otherwise no doubt entirely to his taste.

It may be old-fashioned of me, but I feel that if someone needs to tell me he’s good at his work, he probably isn’t. I’ve worked with a great many people who do a good job and generally you can see from the results of their efforts. You don’t need them to point it out.

We hadn’t worked together long by then and I realised in the meeting that we wouldn’t be working together much longer. At the time, this man who was so good at his work had been twelve months without winning a single sale of his inadequate, defect-ridden product. By the time I left, he’d been eighteen months without sales of that same inadequate product.

At least I came away with a clear measure of the impressive quality of a man good at his work.

All this came back to me when I heard Trump’s words in Florida, where he went to address an audience who felt for him as my colleagues had felt about my boss.

…you've seen what we've accomplished in a very short period of time. The White House is running so smoothly. So smoothly. And believe me, I and we inherited one big mess. That I can tell you, but I know that you want safe neighborhoods where the streets belong to families and communities, not gang members and drug dealers who are right now as I speak being thrown out of the country and they will not be let back in.

Trump in Florida,  with his star-struck fans
The accomplishments have been spectacular indeed. His choice for national security adviser had to stand down, as did his nominee for Secretary of Labor. He orered the exclusion of all visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, even if they were innocent of any offence against the United States, even though no one from those countries has ever launched a terrorist attack on US soil. As well as being unjust, the measure was probably illegal, and judges threw it out of court.

If these are accomplishments, it’s hard to imagine what failures would look like. And if this smooth-running, it’s hard to imagine what inept amateurs would do.

It’s as though the White House was in the hands of a braggart whose capacity for narcissistic self-delusion was rivalled only by his incompetence.

Or as though my ex-boss had been become President of the United States.

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