Carving Donald Trump
On Thanksgiving, Americans sat down to dinner, looked at the big turkey and thought about Donald Trump.
O.K., that was totally the wrong attitude. We’re supposed to be having a reset. The president-elect has been going out of his way to build bridges. He came to The Times this week for a long conversation, during which he was extremely amiable. He blasted the alt-right twits who celebrated his victory with Nazi salutes. (“Of course I condemn. I disavow and condemn.”) He had nothing but praise for Barack Obama (“I really liked him a lot.”) He has no desire to see Hillary Clinton prosecuted. (“She went through a lot. And suffered greatly in many different ways.”)
好吧，这态度完全不对头。我们应该重新调整自己。候任总统已经在很努力地搭建桥梁了。本周他来到《时报》，做了长时间的交谈，期间态度非常友好。他抨击了那些用纳粹敬礼庆祝他当选的另类右翼蠢材（“我当然谴责。我否定并谴责”）。对于贝拉克·奥巴马(Barack Obama)他只有赞美之词（“我真的很喜欢他”）。他无意看到希拉里·克林顿(Hillary Clinton)遭到起诉（“她经历了很多，在很多方面都饱经痛苦”）。
Policywise, he was still the guy who’s not all that into position papers. In discussing climate change alone, Trump used the phrase “open mind” seven times. This is one thing you can count on. We haven’t had a mind so open in the White House since Warren Harding.
Trump certainly hasn’t been giving many hints about what he’s actually going to do. But the real, and very important, message from his outreach was to remind the nation that he’s not crazy.
Trump not crazy! The word spread throughout the land. The stock market soared. While it’s true that the country has generally expected a little more from an incoming president, this election year has always been the story of a very low bar.
Look at his appointments. In another year, people might question whether Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina would be the right choice for United Nations ambassador, since she has virtually no experience whatsoever in foreign affairs. However, given the fact that last week Haley appeared to be a finalist for secretary of state, the U.N. seems like an eminently sensible assignment. Plus, once again we are relieved it’s not Rudy Giuliani.
看看他的那些任命吧。换了另一年，人们可能会质疑南卡罗来纳州州长尼基·黑利(Nikki Haley)是否是驻联合国大使的正确人选，因为她在外交事务上几乎毫无经验。然而，鉴于上周黑利似乎成了国务卿提名的最终入围者，联合国大使似乎也变成了一项格外明智的任命。另外，我们再一次放下了悬着的心，国务卿不是鲁迪·朱利安尼(Rudy Giuliani)。
Ironically, Trump, who ran as the big-change guy, is spending his first days as president-elect trying to assure people the changes won’t be too large. The Mexican wall is going to be a mixture of wall and fences — think of it as the Great Wence. The war on illegal immigrants is going to be all about deporting criminals, which is exactly what the Obama administration has been doing for years.
The most astonishing moment in Trump’s visit to The Times came when the president-elect announced that waterboarding suspected terrorists was “not going to make the kind of a difference that maybe a lot of people think.” Those people would include all the folks who went to Trump rallies and cheered when the candidate said things like: “Would I approve waterboarding? You bet your ass I would. … It works.”
“If it’s so important to the American people, I would go for it,” said the man who spent much of the last year trying to make it important. But, he said, he’d talked to Gen. James Mattis — the odds-on bet for secretary of defense — and found that Mattis thought waterboarding was pretty useless and much less effective than trying to win over a prisoner with cigarettes and beer.
Now, you can look at this two ways. One is that we have a president-elect who never bothered to talk with any experts about one of his major campaign themes. The other is that he’s growing into the job.
Let’s take the second. Sure, we’ll probably be disappointed by Valentine’s Day, but it could get us through the holidays.
I’ve been trying to think of a way to set an example — to come up with an olive branch that doesn’t go overboard. Some little thing to smooth the edges before we start fighting about the Supreme Court and health care.
Over the past couple of years I have noted on several occasions that Donald Trump once sent me a letter saying I had the face of a dog. This was when he took exception to my description of him as a “thousandaire.”
I’ve decided I will refrain from mentioning the incident again until he does something really, really terrible as president. In the name of accuracy, however, I have to correct the record. I dug out Trump’s missive the other day and discovered he did not actually say I looked like a dog. He said I was “a dog and a liar” with the face of a pig.
Hard to believe I got that wrong. The moral is that you should always consult the primary source.
So off we go. Fiscal conservatives are terrified that Trump will spend a ton of money on construction projects and refuse to cut entitlements. Murmurs of the dread term “Rockefeller Republican” are probably wafting at Paul Ryan’s holiday table. Perhaps liberals can take comfort in the fact that the other side is just as freaked out as they are.
Next year at this time, we’ll be watching President Trump pardon the Thanksgiving turkeys. Unless he reverts and winds up ordering the turkeys tortured.