There is a story going around about Donald Trump and the Pope.
In it, the Pope and President are having lunch on a Potomac River yacht when the Pontiff loses his hat overboard. Trump immediately motions for aides not to move. The President then proceeds to walk on the water and retrieves the hat.
The headlines in the newspapers read: President Trump Can’t Swim.
While an exaggeration, the story typifies the first weeks of the new administration.
To hear and read the national media, President Trump seemingly can’t do anything right.
He antagonizes foreign leaders; elicits hatred from American elites; bullies immigrants; and threatens institutions.
With the first presidential popularity polls due soon, no one quite knows how the new President is playing in the hinterlands.
A hint that he is indeed doing quite well is found in radio call-in programs and more localized media.
Quick surveys by these media outlets are finding strong support for the President’s first two weeks in office.
While the media and elites deplore his immigration actions, a majority of Americans understand the need to start protecting its borders.
Demonstrations against the immigration ban have not swayed the public opinion of his supporters. Nor has it affected the normal flow of immigration. What it has done is put the world on notice a new regime is in town and will not do business as usual.
World leaders are grabbling with the new U.S. Presidential paradigm which is “Trump being the hard negotiator.” In business when setting up to deal with a competitor, it is sometimes better to seem harder, fiercer, more belligerent to set up a better negotiating position. In his first talks with these international leaders, President Trump has clearly given them pause to think the past eight years were filled with a mistaken American foreign policy.
Based on a reading of foreign media, national leaders from Asia to Europe to South America are not sure what to make of President Trump.
Reflecting on the comments of cabinet appointees in their confirmation hearings, what these leaders should know is President Trump will pursue a more “America First” populist movement. He will start by hitting Iran with new sanctions, has told President Putin he will meet any threat in the Crimean and will be more intolerant of Chinese expansion.
All of these actions were spelled out in the hearings, on President Trump’s tweets, and in his campaign speeches.
No President in recent memory has acted so swiftly to redeem his campaign promises than Donald Trump.
Compare just one promise former President Barack Obama pledged: Closing Guantanamo Bay prison.
Donald Trump promised to end Obamacare. One of his first acts was to curtail it and demand Congress kill it.
There are more things President Trump in his first weeks that bear mentioning as well.
Small businesses decried during the election process the over regulation imposed by former President Obama.
One of President Trump’s first executive orders demands bureaucrats end two regulations for every new rule. This has resonated well in many quarters of the nation.
Indeed, polls by several respected industry marketers found optimism amongst small business leaders has gone up since his election and now in the administration’s first month.
Another action was the removal on the construction of the two oil pipelines held up by the former administration.
This further President Trump’s call for more jobs and solidified the nation’s oil independence.
All of these actions have occurred in an atmosphere of anti-Trump media presentations which are hurting the national media.
But the irony is the vitriol with which the media is creating a negative aura around President Trump may in effect be hurting it more than the occupant of the White House.
One of the most hallowed of Washington D.C. traditions is the White House Correspondence dinner. Here the president is hackled and he in turn gets to roast the news people back. This year a counter dinner is being planned headed by Chelsea Handler and Vanity Fair just announced it would not attend.
Who is hurt by this? The President or the press? Rather it is the charities who benefit from the dinner, but may not so much this year.
One other straw in the wind.
Megyn Kelly is coming over to NBC News from Fox News. If reports are accurate, she will take over the Today show from a vocal Trump critic.
Who is the victor here?
As long as Donald Trump can Tweet, he will reach the American people directly with his message.