In the flurry of interviews that President Trump is doing to promote his first 100 days, one passage really caught the media’s attention.
It wasn’t about North Korea or NAFTA. It was about himself and his expectations for life in the White House.
“I loved my previous life. I had so many things going,” Trump told Reuters. “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”
The pundits practically exchanged knowing smiles: Of course he thought it would be a piece of cake. He’s a novice! He had no clue!
My take was somewhat different.
What makes Trump’s interviews far different than those of career politicians is that he has these bursts of candor. Sometimes they make him look good, sometimes not so good, but you hear a real person talking.
It’s the same quality that led to all that live coverage of his rallies, the fact that you never knew when he would wander off script. He’s not a talking-point guy.
Obviously, being the leader of the free world is far more complicated than running a private real estate company.
But it’s also true that every senator or governor who wins the White House has to adjust to the magnitude of taking over the federal bureaucracy and having to watch every word. Their expectations may be more realistic, and they may have more political loyalists ready to take jobs, but the adjustment is enormously difficult.
Despite his fame, Trump talked about the loss of privacy, which also comes as a shock to every new president.
“You’re really into your own little cocoon, because you have such massive protection that you really can’t go anywhere,” he said. What’s more, “I like to drive. I can’t drive anymore.”
There was also some eye-rolling when Trump gave the Reuters reporters an electoral map: “Here, you can take that, that’s the final map of the numbers. It’s pretty good, right? The red is obviously us.”
Some folks are amazed that Trump keeps bringing up the election. But that was his formative political experience.
After an 18-month slog in which no one—not the media establishment or the political establishment—gave him a chance, this outsider won the presidency.
That has taught him a lesson, to trust his own judgment and ignore the naysayers. Maybe he’s overlearned that lesson. But it helps explain why he thinks he can govern so differently than his predecessors—even if it is a bit harder than he expected.