President-Elect: Not Ready For Prime Time

Yesterday Donald Trump released a video outlining the executive actions he plans to take on day one.

If you watch, you’ll notice that he named things like withdrawing from TPP (which was declared dead a while ago), canceling regulations on the production of energy (no specifics), and instructing the Department of Labor to investigate abuse of visa programs.

But this list is more telling in what it doesn’t include than what it does. Over the course of his campaign, Trump made numerous promises about what he would do on “day one.” They include things like beginning to build a border wall, label China a currency manipulator, cancel payments to the UN climate change program, repeal Obamacare and suspend immigration from “terror prone regions.”

Perhaps some of those things he promised are not ready for prime time yet.

Then today we witnessed a bizarre series of events in which the president-elect scheduled a meeting with the New York Times, cancelled it on twitter and then actually showed up. Included in the paper’s story about what happened was this little tidbit:

Three people with knowledge of Mr. Trump’s initial decision to cancel the meeting said that Reince Priebus, the incoming White House chief of staff, had been among those urging the president-elect to cancel it, because he would face questions he might not be prepared to answer. It was Mr. Priebus who relayed to Mr. Trump, erroneously, that The Times had changed the conditions of the meeting, believing it would result in a cancellation, these people said.

In other words, Trump’s in-coming chief of staff lied to him about changed conditions because he didn’t think his boss was ready for prime time when it comes to a meeting with “the gray lady.”

I have mixed feelings about all this. Trump’s video confirmed the fact that many of his promises are going to be harder to deliver than he indicated during the campaign. That’s a good thing. But the fact that our president-elect’s closest advisors think they need to go to such great lengths to shield him from talking to the press is downright disturbing – even if it’s not surprising.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .