The British ambassador to the United States recently made headlines by describing Donald Trump as “clumsy and inept.” He wrote, “I don’t think this Administration will ever look competent.” (Vox.com)
To those who follow this administration’s antics, the shock was not in the judgement. It was in the ambassador’s words becoming public.
But it’s far too easy to conclude Trump’s administration is simply inept.
Take the wall, for instance.
Four years after Trump began his endless promises about the wall, only 13 miles of new wall construction have begun (bbc.com). But physically present or not, the wall remains a potent symbol of his promise to keep brown people out of the United States. Because he knows that his re-election depends on the votes of everyone who shares his same fear, we’re sure to hear much more about the wall in the next two years.
When it comes to building racial and informational walls, Trump and his administration know what they’re doing. Trump’s response to his own Department of Homeland Security report of deplorable conditions at migrant detention centers immediately brought more claims of “hoax,” “phony,” and “fake news,” his standard, easily-erected walls against fact (newyorktimes.com).
The “information” his administration does dispense is often wrong or misleading. Trump’s coal lobbyist EPA administrator said, "Air pollution has continued to decline under President Trump’s leadership.” Again, not true. Pollution’s gotten worse (time.com).
Trump’s budget cuts frequently target federal workers devoted to researching and communicating fact. Hundreds of Department of Agriculture scientists doing critical work are currently being encouraged to leave their jobs (washingtonpost.com).
Then there are Trump’s high walls of privacy and executive privilege. No tax returns. No college grades. No White House testimony to Congress. None.
Instead, more walls to divide people, to keep them ignorant and for a president to cower behind.