Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States about a month ago, and he has already done two things that suggest he will bring energy and vigor to the presidency.
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First, he stepped in to keep a campaign promise and negotiate a deal with Carrier to keep jobs in the United States instead of moving them to Mexico. Second, he arranged to accept a phone call from Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.
Can you imagine Hillary Clinton doing either of those things?
And look at how liberals have reacted. No less than Lawrence Summers wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post arguing that Trump’s actions on Carrier “could permanently damage American capitalism.” Really? Damage capitalism? Perhaps that’s a touch of hyperbole arising from the Democrats’ trauma. What has caused more damage to capitalism: Trump negotiating a quick deal to save jobs out in the hinterlands, or the corrosive effect of the anti-capitalist Obama presidency?
On Taiwan, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest questioned the president-elect’s strategy in arranging the call, saying: “I’m not sure how that benefits the United States, and I’m not sure how that benefits the United States relationship with Taiwan. I’m not sure how that benefits the Taiwanese people. I’m not sure how that benefits the U.S. relationship with China.” Well, I’m not sure how the Obama administration’s strategy of consistently capitulating to the Chinese and others has been beneficial for America or our allies.
In other words, the response to Trump’s actions from the left has been to advocate for the status quo. They anticipated a presidency under Clinton that wouldn’t be particularly nimble. Clinton wouldn’t have wanted to wade into any situation that wasn’t prepackaged or that offered an uncertain outcome. She likely would have given a weak statement about the need to boost American manufacturing but would not have lifted a finger to save those Carrier jobs. She likely would have refused a call from Ing-wen and continued President Barack Obama’s policy of acquiescence to America’s competitors.
The left is comfortable with the status quo, but nothing about Trump suggests that he will be content with going along to get along. Trump’s measures suggest that he is willing to be aggressive, think creatively and take some risks. The United States needs all of these traits to make up for the lethargic demeanor of the Obama years and the lawyerly approach that resulted in inaction more than fresh initiatives.
The past month has given us some insight into how Trump will operate as president. You can argue about whether he is right or wrong on this or that issue, but there is no doubt that Trump is going to be bold.
Follow Mr. Rogers on Twitter @EdRogersDC.