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HomeCharles KrauthammerWhat Happened To The Honeymoon?

What Happened To The Honeymoon?

The shortest honeymoon on record is officially over. Normally, newly elected presidents enjoy a wave of goodwill that allows them to fly high at least through their first 100 days. Donald Trump has not yet been sworn in and the honeymoon has already come and gone.

Presidents-elect usually lie low during the interregnum. Trump never lies low. He seized the actual presidency from Barack Obama within weeks of his election — cutting ostentatious deals with U.S. manufacturers to keep jobs at home, challenging 40-year-old China policy, getting into a very public fight with the intelligence agencies. By now he has taken over the presidential stage. It is true that we have only one president at a time, and for over a month it’s been Donald Trump.

The result is quantifiable. A Quinnipiac poll from Nov. 17 to 20 — the quiet, hope-and-change phase — showed a decided bump in Trump’s popularity and in general national optimism. It didn’t last long. In the latest Quinnipiac poll, the numbers have essentially returned to Trump’s (historically dismal) pre-election levels.

For several reasons. First, the refusal of an unbending left to accept the legitimacy of Trump’s victory. It’s not just the demonstrators chanting “not my president.” It is leading Democrats pushing one line after another to delegitimize the election, as in: He lost the popular vote, it’s James Comey’s fault, the Russians did it.

Second, Trump’s own instincts and inclinations, a thirst for attention that leads to hyperactivity. His need to dominate every news cycle feeds an almost compulsive tweet habit. It has placed him just about continuously at the center of the national conversation and not always to his benefit.

Trump simply can’t resist playground pushback. His tweets gave Meryl Streep’s Golden Globes screed priceless publicity. His mocking Arnold Schwarzenegger for bad “Apprentice” ratings — compared with “the ratings machine, DJT” — made Trump look small and Arnold (almost) sympathetic.

Nor is this behavior likely to change after the inauguration. It’s part of Trump’s character. Nothing negative goes unanswered because, for Trump, an unanswered slight has the air of concession or surrender.

Finally, it’s his chronic indiscipline, his jumping randomly from one subject to another without rhyme, reason or larger strategy. In a week packed with confirmation hearings and Russian hacking allegations, what was he doing meeting with Robert Kennedy Jr., an anti-vaccine activist pushing the thoroughly discredited idea that vaccines cause autism?

We know from way back during the Republican debates that Trump himself has dabbled in this dubious territory. One could, however, write it off as one of many campaign oddities that would surely fade away. Not so, apparently.

This is not good. The idea that vaccines cause autism originally arose in a 1998 paper in the medical journal the Lancet that was later found to be fraudulent and had to be retracted. Indeed, the lead researcher acted so egregiously that he was stripped of his medical license.

Kennedy says that Trump asked him to chair a commission about vaccine safety. While denying that, the transition team does say that the commission idea remains open. Either way, the damage is done. The anti-vaccine fanatics seek any validation. This indirect endorsement from Trump is immensely harmful. Vaccination has prevented more childhood suffering and death than any other measure in history. With so many issues pressing, why even go there?

The vaccination issue was merely an exclamation point on the scatter-brained randomness of the Trump transition. All of which contributes to the harried, almost wearying feeling that we are already well into the Trump presidency.

Compare this with eight years ago and the near euphoria — overblown but nonetheless palpable — at the swearing-in of Barack Obama. Not since JFK had any new president enjoyed such genuine goodwill upon accession to office.

And yet it turns out that such auspicious beginnings are not at all predictive. We could see it this same week. Tuesday night, there stood Obama giving a farewell address that only underscored the failure of a presidency so bathed in optimism at its start. The final speech, amazingly, could have been given, nearly unedited, in 2008. Why, it even ended with “yes we can.”

Is there more powerful evidence of the emptiness of the intervening two terms? When your final statement is a reprise of your first, you have unwittingly confessed to being nothing more than a historical parenthesis.

© 2017, Washington Post Writers Group

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Charles Krauthammer
Charles Krauthammer writes a weekly political column that runs on Fridays. He is also a Fox News commentator and appears nightly on “Special Report with Bret Baier.”
  • The honeymoon begins next Friday at 12:00 noon. Trump will then begin to destroy Barry’s legasy. It can’t come soon enough.

    • scruffyleon

      Yes. +1

  • maxx

    When democRats lose there is no honeymoon only the typical liberal tactics of obsessive lying and attempts to subvert society. Thankfully, there were more than enough good and decent people with the eyes wide open this time around. Despite the bias media and all of the prearranged vote fraud that democRats are famous for, they could not get the job done. True Americans hate socialism and all it’s trappings and well completely aware of the democrat agenda. D.C. still will need a lot of house cleaning but with all three branches in the hands of common sense and patriotism the job will be a lot easier. Don’t ever assume anything when dealing with liberals. But for now they have been severely weakened in the eyes of the public. We need to keep up the pressure because Repuklicans have very short memories. We must never let them forget who saved their a$$e$.

    • letfreedomring10

      If only they would, and not forget the errors of the past admins, amen.

  • nkm56

    I think a lot of the problem stems from the fact that people believe the lies of the Fake-news folks like Buzzfeed, and even when they’re proven false, the main stream media either does not report it or skims over it in a way that no one notices. I have seen a lot of elections, but I have never seen the sore-loser hate-mongering and bullying that is being demonstrated on the liberal side. I have my own reservations about Trump, but Hillary was far worse.

    • They are feeling desparate. They know if they don’t get their goals reached in the next few years, their entire plan goes down the toilet. Stay strong.

  • Patriot47

    All Trump’s opposition during the campaign REFUSE to acknowledge defeat. They continue like I said they would. Hissyfits and unsubstantiated allegations now rule LSM, dems, RINOs, and libtards in general. WE have cause to celebrate Trump’s win and it is just killing them.

  • Sunnysider

    Trump will soon have us in a war; he needs to show he’s a strong man. Mark my words, he’s idiot enough to fall for that behavior.

    • scruffyleon

      So tell us, Old Crystal Ball Gazer, who will we be in a war with? ISIS? Yes. Islam? Maybe.
      You would rather have Hillary and be at war with Russia and China and North Korea?

      • Bill the eighth

        Clearly Sunny Side boy is a drooling moron.

    • Max

      Maybe you havent been paying attention; we are at war now.

  • scruffyleon

    Honeymoon? That proves how out of touch with reality Krauthammer really is.

    • Bill the eighth

      It is you who is out of touch. Did you not read the article?

      • scruffyleon

        Anybody who thought the Left would give Trump 100 days of blissful peace is deranged. Did you think that?

        • Bill the eighth

          Of course not. The point is every president before Trump had a Honeymoon of at least 100 days and in Oblah blah’s case, it has been going on for the full 8 years and will most likely continue until the end of time. The fawning over this incompetent moron by the radical left is more than nauseating.

          • Kent2012

            this is what happens when the morons put a radicalized african in the oral office, then expect presidential character to shine through….first off you have to put an American loving American in office…

          • Max

            Even a moron looks like a genius to idiots.

  • ucankwit

    Dr. Krauthammer, Donald Trump is a New Yorker. ‘Nuff said!

  • Hacksaw

    Donald Trump, God bless him, won because God was not ready for a one-world government.

  • Carl Williams

    Is Trump going to be able to tweet after he takes office? How secure is that?

  • Carl Williams

    Socialism didn’t just “happen” in the USA. It was a concerted, multi-front effort to unseat and replace in the universities, in education, in law, in government, in the media and publishing, and in the churches. This began in the 1930s and continues today. Won’t it take a similar, deliberate effort to re-educate and retool America in constitutional conservatism?

    • Kent2012

      due to the promises of stalin and then mao naize…we have aholes cheering those scum and many have worked their way high up in “higher” education to fortify the indoctrination mechanism…creating teachers that go out and infect students as early as pre-school…now we have an african communist as president….My humble opinion is that the commies have successfully accomplished their mission well beyond their hopes…

  • letfreedomring10

    Charles, you are a stealth liberal and it shows pal.

  • rockhitsciuntest

    No one has suggested all vaccines are dangerous. The argument has been over the quantity and quality of these required immunizations to small children clearly in excess. The delivery system is nearly 100 years old dependent on the body to react to their common carrier agents known to live in the cells forever.

    In the same manner as you suggested a study on immunizations might be another rabbit hole, the speed of forgetfulness ever increases. Obama had a crew of followers who praised his triumphant entry into the white house, but half the population was in shock by the end of the first 90 days of spending fake and printed money. There is no defending our Republican Party. It’s just an extension of global governance dating back to the 1914-1920 era when the secret society came out of the closet wearing Donkey and Elephant camouflage. So the perception Mr Trump is already losing his poll numbers is mostly the taint of banter from the mentally ill believing in the resurrection of man’s government on the 3rd date. It’s either a return to fundamental values of work and hard work, or we are doomed to another marxist-communist committee rule with some of the ugliest mixed up people walking upright on the planet in 4 years or less. Most of our people will eventually stand up in the face of this trickery and block the back door preventing another Obama type socialist ever again in ANY position of control.

  • Herb1949

    It is easy to see that Krauthammer is a founding member of the “never Trump” crowd. His attacks on trump continue, just as the attacks by the left media do.

    Tell me, EXACTLY why Trump should NOT respond to innuendo, half truths and outright lies by the left dominated media. Tell me WHY he should sit back and take the constant attacks without pointing out the news is reporting LIES. “Mr” Krauthammer is also posting the lies of the left. The polls he is referencing are the same ones that had Trump losing by a large margin. Yeah, like I am going to believe them now.

    BTW, I have an acquaintance that voted for hildabeast, he has now come around to supporting Trump, mostly because he isn’t taking the media’s lies lying down.

    • MDK

      I will tell you “exactly” why, Herb. First, because the press so exposed it’s bias during the campaign, those who were so blatant about it should be relegated to the basement with regards to their access to anything the president has to say. Trump should make their job as difficult as they made his and they should have to actually work at being objective. Too many “reporters” felt their opinion mattered as opposed to what actually mattered. Secondly, rather than have the need to have the last word against all the “Rosie/Meryl types who assail him, there is a much better way to shut them up once and for all. MAKE IT WORK AND PROVE THEM ALL WRONG!!!!! Draining the swamp should be our battle cry for the next four years. With the branches of government positioned to act for the country’s betterment, make it happen. If Trump is going to expend energy, let it be of the nature that is irrefutable from the left. I would much rather have a DJT four years from now who turned this country around, made it great again and insured our future than one who felt he had won all the pissing contests. All of the nay sayers including the pseudo media and self elevated celebrities could say nothing if he walked away after his term(s) and tweeted for a final time; “I TOLD YOU SO :)”.

      • meister rhovanion

        i wish that we could put all those lies and fake stuff in a time capsule and pull it out every six or so months and show it off. “oh.., remember when you said this? or ,how bout this article…?

  • WBC

    Mr. Krauthammer doesn’t to track very well in his consistency. I think even he doesn’t quite know where he stands on the current situation. I think he is over impressed by his PhD status.

  • Tim Kern

    Democrats and socialists of all stripes count on a base of hate, to harass and distract from their primary agenda, which is consolidation of power.
    The Establishments of both parties, enemies of Trump, never lose sight of that goal. We, out here (those of us not in D.C., Hollywood, or NYC) keep taking the bait.

    • Max

      Well said.

  • ClarenceDeBarrows

    Good Dr. Krauthammer has been wrong about Trump since the very inception of the campaign when he opined, with that sly grin on his face, that Trump had no chance at all of being elected. This is just another of his slanted diatribes attempting to impugn the intelligence and character of both Trump AND the American Citizens who elected him President. I’m sure his “balanced” reporting on the Trump Presidency and his disdain for the intelligence of those who elected Trump President will continue apace.

  • Susi

    My, all that because Trump was seen talking….talk about jumping to conclusions and reading into a situation, let alone assuming Trump would agree with Kennedy.

  • Another Guest

    Wow, chuck just wrote another crappy article.

  • If memory serves, G. W. Bush didn’t get a honeymoon either. From the very beginning of his first term, the cries of “selected, not elected” could be heard from coast to coast. Then there was Democrat perfidy about “power sharing” in the Senate, the Jim Jeffords defection and what it revealed, and the assault on Dubya using forged documents and unsubstantiated innuendi, but most of that came later.

  • Ron The Baptist

    Krauthammer didn’t suggest an INVESTIGATION into vaccinations. Krauthammer is saying for Trump, and all of us, to “go along with” those saying ALL the vaccinations are OK. For an Investigation Journalist, Krauthammer sure is pressing Fake News.

    • Max

      He is, after all, a physician. With few exceptions they don’t see evidence of risk, only benefits.

  • Max

    Obama could not possibly have failed to be accepted with glowing exhaltation. He was the collectivist/globalist/media pick surrounded by the impenetrable force-field of affirmative action.

    Trump has had every one of these arrayed against him including the “respectable” pundits such as *some* from Freedom’s Back. He is only supported by the unwashen masses who do the working and paying and living and dying in this country; the ones who DID build it.

    I’m sure you would be more comfortable in the world according to Soros.

  • Jerryb53

    In 1 day we are going to fundamentally change America back to what it was before Bush took over. Release those 28 pages on 911 that shows the Saudis were involved and the CIA.

  • fidobite

    Charles is still stuck in “old think” territory. I worry about him. He’s been around the DC cesspool too long. He was one of those who thought Trump had about a zero chance of winning the Presidency. Well…..