For heaven’s sake, stop digging. This is my advice to whomever is in charge of shovels over at the White House. Put ‘em down. Back away from those holes you’ve been scratching out like Andy Dufresne. Give us a break…or at least a chance to catch up.
With President Trump coming up on his month-erversary in office (“Kellyanne, break out the Trump wine! Woo hoo!”) the list of pits his team has fashioned and then stepped, wobbled, or plopped into is staggering.
Here is an incomplete tally: They got into an argument with the press over how many people were at the inauguration, then defended themselves with the deliciously ridiculous term “alternative facts.” The president claimed (falsely) he would have won the popular vote if not for millions of illegal voters. A meeting with Mexico fell apart after sharp words. The president said (again, falsely) major news agencies were failing to report many terrorist incidents. He’s taken a few tiny steps toward repealing Obamacare, but certainly not as many as his most ardent fans expected. He’s had trouble with some cabinet nominees (yeah, I know, who doesn’t?) and now he’s lost a top security advisor for playing footsie with the Russians. And just for good measure he sparred with Nordstrom’s over his daughter’s fashion business.
That’s like a year’s worth of turmoil in less than a month. It’s exhausting.
Now I’ll admit when you hop behind the wheel of the most powerful nation on earth you’re liable to scrape a fender or two. But usually there are easily definable agenda accomplishments too. Bill Clinton inaugurated “family leave” law in his earliest weeks. George W. Bush started “No Child Left Behind.” Barack Obama launched the stimulus. And Donald Trump? Arguably his biggest action so far — the travel ban — has been stalled by the courts.
To be sure, he could still get it together and have a strong first 100 days. But almost certainly he and his team must turn away from chaos — away from the midnight Tweets, the offhand untruths, and the unforced errors. Because the first rule of holes applies even to presidents: When you’re in one stop digging.
(CNN’s Tom Foreman is the author of "My Year of Running Dangerously")