Elements of Donald Trump’s presidential style are already emerging, and they must be discouraging to his critics.
It’s easy to miss things that do not happen.
For example, Trump recently canceled a couple of media availabilities. He also turned down ESPN’s invitation to provide his own NCAA tournament brackets, a free PR ride on basketball fever annually seized by President Obama.
When reporters yell questions at Trump now, he usually goes deaf, turning away to converse with others. It’s remarkable, especially considering Trump, in the public eye for decades, hasn’t exactly been known to turn down opportunities to use or fight with the media.
The better behavior has allowed, or perhaps forced, media to focus on the crucial launch of the House of Representatives’ Obamacare replacement policies, which Trump has endorsed. And on the president’s ongoing stream of executive orders starting the fulfillment of numerous campaign promises. And on his impressive debut address to Congress.
Trump remains underwater in terms of job approval, but Gallup just found a clear majority think he will restore prosperity.
Is it possible the demands and needs of being president are steering the new politician into more disciplined behavior? At least for now.
Those demands include selling his keystone policy initiative to the country. And by country, I mean the 535 elected members of Congress who will determine the fate of the sinking USS Obamacare.
All along, Trump has been busy meeting and having lunch with congressional leaders. The other evening, the Trump White House had key committee members in for drinks and social bowling. And you can be sure the president will keep working that Oval Office phone.
Trump prefers that personal touch, as he did in his real estate dealing days. He’s the opposite of aloof. He and Vice President Mike Pence have been holding a series of listening sessions with leaders in education, small business, big business, community banks and so forth.
President Obama wasn’t big on listening sessions; he preferred talking ones. He didn’t meet with the GOP’s Senate leadership, for instance, until his 542nd day in office. The irony is Obama’s party had such firm control of Congress back in 2009 and 2010 that it could ram through the immense bill without a single Republican vote.
In reaction, the ensuing 2010 midterm elections marked the start of Democrats’ dramatic decline under Obama, costing them both houses of Congress and devastating damage at state levels. Republicans now control 33 governor’s offices and both legislative houses in 25 of those states.
Even as a political rookie, Trump is aiming to avoid such carnage over the volatile health care issue.
Andrew Malcolm is an author and veteran national and foreign correspondent.