I would like to take President Trump back to 1979.
I don’t know what he were building or doing then, but my father was running for president, and the political left and their loyal snipers in the dominant media were shooting at him daily.
“Ronald Reagan was an empty suit.” “He is a B-grade actor.” “He is a dangerous warmonger.”
They said if he got his hands on the nuclear codes he was going to start World War III.
Despite being constantly under attack by liberal pundits and Democrats, my father never responded to any of them in the media.
Throughout his administration he laughed at his detractors and didn’t take their bait.
He knew that if Walter Mondale said something about him and he said something back, Mondale would say something else and pretty soon he and his campaign would have been off message.
And in politics, if you’re off message, you’re not accomplishing anything.
If Trump wants to learn anything from my father, he should learn when to shut up.
Being president is not like a tennis match – you don’t always have to return serve. It does you no good, gives your enemies in the media more ammo to fire at you and keeps the ball in the air.
If you say nothing, it’s over. If your staff members say nothing, it’s over.
Meanwhile, you can get on with the business of being the president.
Another thing my father knew was that instead of always trying to pat yourself on your back for a job well done, sometimes it’s better to allow others to pat you on the back.
He also knew when to say nothing and quietly do the right thing.
For example, right after he took office in 1981, he gave Air Force One to Jimmy Carter and allowed Carter to go to West Germany to welcome the Iranian hostages to freedom.
My father didn’t hold a press conference to say, “Look at what I’m doing for Jimmy Carter.” He just did it.
Another example of something nice he did happened after he left office and traveled to Japan to give some speeches.
He was criticized heavily by the dominant media because he was paid between $50,000 and $150,000 per speech, but he didn’t respond or defend himself.
He also didn’t point out that the coach seats of the 747 he flew on to Japan were completely filled with the families of service men and women who were stationed in Japan.
At no charge my father flew those families to Japan in his plane and flew them home. He didn’t hold a press conference to announce it or pat himself on the back, he just quietly did it.
Michael Reagan is a columnist with Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.