IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Donald Trump, demolitions expert

Electing a former real-estate developer might lead some to believe the president would be good at building things. Trump, however, likes to tear down.
Image: US President Donald J. Trump hosts former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger
epa06257124 US President Donald J. Trump delivers remarks to members of the news media while hosting former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (not pictured)...

Donald Trump, apparently annoyed by a New York Times piece, was eager to point to some of his perceived accomplishments over the weekend. Among the presidential achievements he touted: scrapping the U.S. role in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, trying to end the U.S. role in the Paris Climate Accords, and the recent "cancellations" of EPA environmental safeguards.

What Trump may not have realized is that none of these things are actual accomplishments -- so much as they're attempts to take an ax to his predecessor's accomplishments.

The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin had a compelling piece on this the other day, describing the Republican president as "Trump the Destroyer."

What is increasingly obvious is that President Trump's motivations and impulses have everything to do with narcissism, personal piques, anger at his predecessor and fear of losing face -- and very little to do with creating real policy outcomes. He prefers to be seen doing something rather than to do something for which he would bear the consequences.

On health care, Trump doesn't have anything resembling a plan. He has a desire for Congress to tear down "Obamacare," and when those efforts came up short, the president took steps to sabotage the nation's health care system unilaterally, but the president has no constructive vision of his own. His principal focus is on tearing down what others have created.

On immigration, Trump doesn't have the foggiest idea what kind of system should be in place, but he's convinced himself that it's necessary to tear down what Barack Obama did. And on the international nuclear agreement with Iran. The president hasn't offered anything resembling a coherent strategy, but he's certain Obama's policy is wrong.

The pattern is hard to miss.

Having a former real-estate developer in the Oval Office might lead some to believe the president would be good at building things. But if there's one thing that's become painfully clear in 2017, it's that Donald Trump's political skillset, to the extent that it exists, is the inverse of his professional background.

The president is a world-class demolitions expert, preoccupied with a retrospective vision of tearing down, not building up. Is it any wonder Trump perceives his anti-Obama moves as his most notable "accomplishments"?