New York Times columnist David Brooks believes the movement to oppose President Donald Trump is losing strength because it is failing to see beyond its own caricatures of the chief executive, which were reinforced most recently by Michael Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury: Inside The Trump White House.”
The avowed anti-Trumper begins his piece titled, “The Decline of Anti-Trumpism” with “three inconvenient observations” about the 45th president.
The first was that “people who go into the White House to have a meeting with President Trump usually leave pleasantly surprised. They find that Trump is not the raving madman they expected from his tweetstorms or the media coverage. They generally say that he is affable, if repetitive. He runs a normal, good meeting and seems well-informed enough to get by.”
Secondly, Brooks writes, contrary to Wolff’s “Fire and Fury” depiction “this is not an administration full of people itching to invoke the 25th Amendment,” declaring Trump unfit, so he can be removed from office.
Third, by the columnist’s reckoning, “the White House is getting more professional.”
Brooks explains, “Imagine if Trump didn’t tweet. The craziness of the past weeks would be out of the way, and we’d see a White House that is briskly pursuing its goals: the shift in our Pakistan policy, the shift in our offshore drilling policy, the fruition of our ISIS policy, the nomination for judgeships and the formation of policies on infrastructure, DACA, North Korea and trade.”
The writer then chastises those opposed to the president for offering “fairy tale” reasons for doing so.
“I mention these inconvenient observations because the anti-Trump movement, of which I’m a proud member, seems to be getting dumber,” Brooks contends.
He continues, “It seems to be settling into a smug, fairy tale version of reality that filters out discordant information. More anti-Trumpers seem to be telling themselves a ‘Madness of King George’ narrative: Trump is a semi-literate madman surrounded by sycophants who are morally, intellectually and psychologically inferior to people like us.”
“I’d like to think it’s possible to be fervently anti-Trump while also not reducing everything to a fairy tale,” according to the commentator.
Brooks goes on to observe that one reason for the movement’s intellectual weakening is that it’s too insular: anti-Trumpers tend not to interface with those who hold a different view.
For the columnist, the solution is not to become more pro-Trump, but to adhere to more rigid journalistic standards when seeking to oppose his policies. In other words, avoid putting out “fake news.”
“This isn’t just a struggle over a president,” Brooks writes. “It’s a struggle over what rules we’re going to play by after Trump.”
While Brooks’ column did not offer a favorable view of Trump, last week The Times reported “a wave of optimism” has spread over the American business community since the new administration took over.
In a story titled, “The Trump Effect: Business, Anticipating Less Regulation, Loosens Purse Strings,” Times reporters Binyamin Applebaum and Jim Tankersley wrote, “A wave of optimism has swept over American business leaders, and it is beginning to translate into the sort of investment in new plants, equipment and factory upgrades that bolsters economic growth, spurs job creation — and may finally raise wages significantly.”
They added that “in the administration and across the business community, there is a perception that years of increased environmental, financial and other regulatory oversight by the Obama administration dampened investment and job creation — and that Mr. Trump’s more hands-off approach has unleashed the ‘animal spirits’ of companies that had hoarded cash after the recession of 2008.”
The paper cited a survey by the National Association of Manufacturers, which found that fewer than half of manufacturers cited an “unfavorable business climate” — including regulations and taxes — as a challenge to their business, down from nearly three-quarters a year ago.
In fact, nearly 95 percent of respondents said they are positive about their company’s future, which is the highest level on record for the survey’s 20-year history.
The Times reported that with the Republican tax cuts coming online this year, economists are revising their growth forecasts upward.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.