Op-Ed

You think you’re demoralized? Let’s talk

White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci last week walked back to the West Wing of the White House followed by members of the media.
White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci last week walked back to the West Wing of the White House followed by members of the media. AP

Presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway, perhaps attempting to curry favor with this week’s court favorite, Anthony Scaramucci (who – stay with me here – had just accused the president’s chief of staff of a felony), popped up on “Fox and Friends” to suggest that it is “demoralizing” to fill out all the forms required for government service. She’s worried that “paperwork” is keeping many qualified men and women from joining the administration.

Right. It’s the paperwork. Scaramucci, Donald Trump’s Mini-Me, who has barely had time to find the West Wing’s bathroom, is angling to push Reince Priebus out, while President Trump does the same to his attorney general.

You want to talk about demoralization, let’s talk.

After days of heaping abuse on Jeff Sessions, thereby alienating conservatives who admire Sessions along with anyone who believes in simple decency, President Trump dropped his little bomb about transgender troops.

Back on planet Earth, I’d be inclined to assess the merits of the question. The left’s default mode for any vexing public policy matter is to claim “discrimination” or “hate” is the issue.

The left’s approach — to declare trans people a persecuted minority rather than confused people in need of understanding and therapy — inhibits reasonable debate.

But so does Donald Trump’s cynical use of the question. After years of professing his attachment to LGBTQ concerns, even thanking Republican convention-goers for cheering that gays should not be murdered, Trump now finds it useful to declare transgenders unwelcome in the U.S. military.

Never mind that even conservative Republican members of Congress had opposed only forcing the military to pay for gender-reassignment surgery. And never mind that the military was in the midst of a thorough evaluation of its transgender policy. And never mind that the president failed to consult with or even inform his military advisors before tweeting the new policy.

Trump doubtless expects conservatives to faithfully defend this performance. He has reason to. For months, they’ve been serving as his dancing bears, sacrificing their reputations for the sake of TV gigs that are now available to Trump defenders.

It’s impossible to defend a policy that Trump himself is using as misdirection. It’s not that he doesn’t believe in it himself. There is little evidence that he believes in anything outside of himself. It’s that he pollutes everything he touches.

If Trump were truly concerned about the impact of transgender troops on military readiness, he would take the trouble to educate himself on the matter.

Instead, he chose to troll the left by announcing a sweeping ban. Sure enough, they’ve played their part in the drama he is orchestrating. Stephen Colbert said the president had gone from “crazy to cruel.”

The next act is for conservative intellectuals and opinion leaders to defend Trump’s ploy as a serious policy, and to scream that the left has “lost it.”

No thanks. I’m demoralized.

Mona Charen is a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

  Comments