by Jack Kelly
September 22, 2017

Relax. Calm yourselves. Things are going much better than President Trump’s enemies – and some who claim to be his friends – say they are.

Read and watch President Trump’s speech to the UN General Assembly yesterday (9/19), up on To The Point today. No president before him has told so many truths so directly to pompous jerks who needed to hear them. This president didn’t kiss ass. He kicked it.

His UN speech is the clearest statement of MAGA Mr. Trump has yet made. This is not a president who has “flipped” to Democrats, or is being bamboozled by them.

Nor is this a president who is intimidated by, or being drugged by “globalists” on the White House staff.

This is a president who is clearly in charge, who knows what he wants to do, is doing it.

In the movie “Patton,” after winning his first major victory, over the Afrika Korps at El Guettar, George C. Scott (as Patton) exclaims: “Rommel, you magnificent bastard. I read your book!” (Infanterie Greift An)

Mr. Trump’s enemies – and his fair weather friends – would understand the president better if they read his book. [RDM Note: And in some ways even more than The Art of the Deal, his second and third books Trump: Surviving at the Top and The Art of the Comeback.]

Mr. Trump revels in deal making, which involves give and take. The key to success is to give up what is unimportant to you to get things you really want.

As Scott Adams explains here, when the president agreed with Democrats on a short term extension of the debt ceiling, he gave up nothing of value in exchange for something of value: the upper hand in future negotiations with Congress.

Trump gained “clean” funding for hurricane relief. There is nothing better that the president could do to shore up support in Florida for 2018 and 2020.

All he gave up was the annual kabuki dance Republicans make before caving. As long as the government runs deficits, the debt ceiling must be raised. That is why Republicans always, in the end, surrender.

This doesn’t mean Trump has gone soft on deficit spending. He’s tried to cut spending by more than any other president in my lifetime.

Republicans in Congress were mortified the president cut their kabuki dance short. But they’ve been as useless as a two-legged stool. Trump, in effect, told them that if they don’t up their game, he’ll reach out to the other side.

Many in his base were mortified Trump would agree with Democrats on anything. But Americans who aren’t intensely partisan (most of them) like a president who’ll reach across the aisle.

The deal caused consternation in the Democrat base. Trump is a racist misogynist Nazi corrupt Kremlin stooge whom we must resist, and a moron to boot, but we can work with him, Dem leaders now say.

Nor did the president give up anything of value when he tossed DACA back into the lap of Congress (where it belongs), as Scott Adams explains here.

Or when Trump said he’d consider signing a bill to permit (otherwise law abiding) “Dreamers” to remain in the country, depending upon what’s in it.

The president did not agree to sign any DACA bill, as Democrats claim, nor has he given up on building a wall in high traffic areas along the Mexican border.

A DACA only bill can’t pass the House, Larry Schweikart thinks, because Republicans who voted for it would be committing political suicide…unless Congress had earlier passed tax reform, and funding for the wall.

Antics like these by “Dreamer” protesters Sunday (9/17) harassing Pelosi Galore do not enhance prospects for passage of a DACA only bill, no matter its contents.

The president counts on overreaction by the hard Left. The knee jerk whining about it in the news media made his UN speech all the more effective.

It was never practical to assume all illegal immigrants – especially those brought here as children – would be deported.

But a DACA bill that provides a strenuous “path to citizenship” (or none at all), forbids chain migration, in exchange for funding for the wall and other border security measures, and streamlined deportation procedures seems like a good deal to me – better still if the deal also includes meaningful tax reform.

We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out. But I trust the consummate dealmaker in the White House to make a good deal for us.

It’s amazing how few who claim to be Trump supporters trust his judgment, or his choice of subordinates.

I was a harsh critic of Candidate Trump. I’ve never thought he’s a political genius who is always four chess moves ahead of his adversaries. No mortal is.

Nor did I expect Trump to govern as a conservative. He didn’t campaign as one, and he was a registered Democrat most of his life.

So I’m surprised the president has yet to make what I think is a major mistake, or even has yet to propose a policy I disagree with. So far, he’s been the most effectively conservative president in my lifetime. That includes the sainted Reagan.

Trump has big brass balls, as this Mattis anecdote I’ve cited before indicates.  The difference between him and his predecessor Zero is almost infinitely vast.

He’s more interested in getting things done than in getting credit for getting things done. I bet you didn’t know EUCOM has established a base in Israel (Thomas Wictor explains why that’s significant), or that Bahrain’s king has called for diplomatic relations with Israel.

I suspect You Know Who had a lot to do with both, but he hasn’t said a word about either.

Trump evidently doesn’t mind playing bad cop so subordinates (such as Attorney General Sessions) can be good cop. Normal politicians don’t do this. The role of their subordinates, they think, is to make them look good.

Conspiracy theories are fun. Many conservatives aren’t happy unless they feel betrayed. Most of us think we could staff his administration better than the president has.

Others fret that Trump hasn’t drained the whole swamp yet. They exhibit the patience of six-year-olds on a road trip, asking constantly: “Are we there yet?”

Grownups focus on how much he’s accomplished in just eight months.

Because he’s human (and so are we), President Trump is sure to disappoint us about something or other at some time or other. But he’s earned the benefit of the doubt. Don’t you think it’s time we gave it to him?


— The Art of the President’s Deals originally appeared at To The Point News. Jack Kelly is a former Marine and Green Beret, and was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force during the Reagan Administration.  Until his retirement in January 2017, he was the national security writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.