August 8, 2017

Trump: Did We Know What We Were Getting?

I moved on her like a bitch, but I couldn't get there.

Since he has been in office, a few of President Donald Trump's spokespeople have said something along the lines of, "I'm not sure why you seem so surprised by how President Trump is running things. You knew what you were getting." Unlike the quote in the image above, this is not a direct quote but a paraphrase. I have heard Kellyanne Conway make similar statements multiple times, and I think she has a point. Even if we did not know how a President Trump would govern, I think we had reason to expect that it would be unconventional.

When liberals watch the news, they often express puzzlement over how even the most die-hard Trump supporters could continue to support their man. On this point, I think it is important to remember that many of those who voted for Trump did so because (1) he was not Hillary Clinton, and (2) they wanted something different from the status quo. It might be fair to say that some of them wanted to see the status quo demolished. Donald Trump still isn't Hillary Clinton, and he's certainly been providing something very different from what we've seen from previous presidents. If these were important to his base during the election, it makes sense that many would still be supportive of him.

Another thing I think we knew about Trump before the election was that he was unpredictable. Part of this had to do with his lack of a political record and his tendency to support whichever political party he determined to be in his self-interest at the time. This unpredictability proved to be a big advantage over Clinton. Some on the left who had supported President Obama even used it as justification to support Trump over Clinton. They knew what they'd get with her, but maybe Trump wouldn't be so bad. Now that he's in office, Trump has continued to be unpredictable in many ways.

There is no way U.S. voters knew or could have known exactly what President Trump was going to do in office. I'm not sure he knows from moment to moment. Still, it does seem like we had or should have had some idea of what to expect. We have an unconventional president who is trying to do things his own way and has little to show for it so far aside from being mired in scandal. It would seem dishonest to say we did not anticipate any of that. And so, Conway and the other Trump spokespeople appear to have a point when they say that we knew what we were getting.
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