What happened to the adults?

By Rod Haxton, editor

It wasn’t all that long ago when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell challenged a younger President Obama to “become the adult.”

“The Speaker (John Boehner) and I have been the adults in the room,” chided McConnell during budget negotiations.

The hypocrisy of that statement becomes even more glaring now that we have a president-elect who has been described by one senator as a “five-year-old” and been challenged by Vice-President Joe Biden to “grow up.”

Are those partisan attacks on Donald Trump? Of course.

But, after more than a year on the campaign trail and in the weeks since the general election, Trump has done nothing to dispel worries by Republicans and Democrats that he’s ill-prepared to become President, let alone convince anyone that he’s mature enough to hold the office.

Over the last two months, Trump has waged Twitter wars with Saturday Night Live, the cast of “Hamilton”, Meryl Streep, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the U.S. intelligence community, Vanity Fair, American Airlines, Apple, Boeing, China and Arnold Schwarzenegger, just to name a few.

We soon expect to see Sesame Street added to the list because it was decided that the letter “T” should stand for truck and not Trump.

If you had a teenager who demonstrated a similar lack of self-restraint and immaturity you’d take away their iPhone - not give them the nuclear codes.

And where are those who claim to be adults?

McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have been a case book example of bad parenting. They’ve skipped town, but stocked the refrigerator in case social services comes calling.

On the other hand, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has been the classic enabler, praising Trump’s style and substance when it comes to dictating foreign policy 140 characters at a time. When Trump tweeted that the U.S. should escalate the nuclear arms race, Gingrich said that using Twitter to make major policy announcements was “brilliant.”

If this is the new standard for brilliant, it says less about Trump and more about the level of intellect surrounding him.

Unfortunately, Gingrich isn’t alone in proclaiming Trump a Twitter genius because of his ability to tweet one outrageous comment after another. Those heaping praise on the future president are amazed at his ability to use tweets to distract the media and others from more important issues such as his cabinet picks, his possible financial conflicts of interest or his bromance with Putin.

Trump is no more a genius than the kid throwing a tantrum in the middle of the aisle at Wal-Mart who distracted you long enough that you forgot to pick up another bag of Doritos.

Trump’s compulsive and impulsive Twitter rants put him on par with the typical 13-year-old who lashes out at classmates because they made fun of her decision to dye her hair green. One can hardly be seen as the adult in the room when they refer to one of the most acclaimed actresses in Hollywood as “overrated” and mock Schwarzenegger for his ratings on a reality TV show.

That’s petty and childish. It’s not genius.

Like the parents who are constantly coming to the defense of their spoiled brat, Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s senior adviser, took aim at actress Meryl Streep who criticized Trump’s “performance” last year when he mocked a handicapped individual during a campaign rally.


“I’m concerned that somebody with a platform like Meryl Streep’s is inciting people’s worst instincts,” Conway said.

She must be referring to the platform used by Trump when he claimed that, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

Or maybe it was the platform used by the next President of the U.S. when he tweeted this week that, “Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?”

Again, Conway’s defense reached yet another level of absurdity when she lashed out at the media, “You always wanna go by what’s come out of his mouth rather than look what’s in his heart.”

Exactly what was in Trump’s heart when he was recorded saying, “When you’re a star . . . you can do anything. Grab ’em by the p****. You can do anything.”

Or what was in Trump’s heart when he commented, “. . . if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”

Reporters aren’t paid to be mind readers. When the president-elect compares the U.S. intelligence community to Nazis, apparently lusts for his daughter and mocks an individual’s physical disability on the stage to the delight of his audience, we report what is said and done.

We can’t assume that what’s in Trump’s heart is different than what comes out of his mouth.

We don’t have to look into Trump’s heart to see an individual who feels the rules don’t apply. It doesn’t take a mind reader to recognize a narcissistic who is thin-skinned and arrogant.

The media, however, is at fault for giving his Twitter rants more coverage than they deserve and for allowing others to attribute his actions to some mysterious stroke of genius. He’s a spoiled, immature 70-year-old.

The way to deal with Trump is the way you deal with any spoiled brat. Ignore the tweets and attention that he craves. Let him throw a fit in the middle of the aisle. Don’t forget the Doritos.

And perhaps the adults will eventually return to the room.

Rod Haxton can be reached at editor@screcord.com

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