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Practical Politics


Those of us still paying attention have already gasped aloud several times upon viewing or hearing about Mr. Trump’s first “transition team” picks for White House service. Virtually all of them are either wholly inexperienced in any prior work close to what their new government job will be, or they are generally incompetent, or both. Some are artful racist-instigators, skilled in semantic chicanery, while others have amassed reputations for being firebrand reactionaries rather than cool-hand Lukes.

Clearly, we, as Americans, are in for some cloudy and storm-swept days. Meanwhile, Mr. Trump has also shone again that as much of a gentleman and statesman as the outgoing POTUS is in trying to show Mr. Trump the presidential ropes early on, Mr. Trump has again deigned to show himself as a true interloper at this level of endeavor. As a specific example, before he has even been sworn in, he has already breached modern diplomatic rules of engagement by insulting the British government through tweeting a strong recommendation for the British government to choose a certain favorite of Mr. Trump’s—Nigel Farage—as a new English ambassador to America. That is not how it works, or how it has ever worked, according to governmental experts. It is a straightforward faux pas that had the House of Commons chuckling at Mr. Trump’s clumsy overture and lack of manners. Boris Johnson, the new British Foreign Secretary and former leader of the same anti-immigrant and Brexit movement as is Mr. Farage, gently but conclusively rebuked Mr. Trump.

Unfortunately, it may be the first of many, many such international embarrassments. He is simply in way over his head, and this country will pay for it. As the saying goes, be careful what you ask for; it may not be the bargain you expect.

Apparently, the Hillary Clinton ‘special prosecutor’ situation has changed too. On TV, he said he’d changed his mind about doing it, that he did not want to hurt the Clintons. Be that as it may, he does not yet seem to grasp the concept, but he would not have had the authority to appoint such a special prosecutor anyway. That is not within the president’s authority. Special prosecutors for government business are appointed by Congress, the Attorney General or a special federal court panel, not the president.

Mr. Trump will yet begin to understand that there are regulations and constraints on presidential authority. He will not be King Trump, or the next Fuhrer, try as he might. Meanwhile, we might as well get some popcorn, and lots of it, as this may be a prolonged dystopian show.

Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.

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