I’m not sure Donald Trump has any role models, but if he has one from his youth it may well be the late Philadelphia Flyers coach Fred Shero. Shero coached the Flyers in the seventies when they earned the nickname The Broad Street Bullies. With just a bit of poetic license Trump could have been called the Broadway Bully from his time in New York City and it now appears he is commencing on earning the title of The Bully of the Beltway. Let’s explore.
The core philosophy of Shero’s Flyers was to commit so many penalties in such rapid succession that the officials couldn’t possibly call them all and thereby gain an unfair advantage. Hockey penalties general entail physically interfering with your opponent. Now the Flyers were more than just a bunch of goons, but the illegal activities certainly helped get their names inscribed on Lord Stanley’s Cup.
Trump is famous for bullying subcontractors into taking less than the negotiated price for a job. He made a lot of money by doing that. Trump was a “B list” celebrity in New York whose ego badly wanted to be on the “A list”. In an effort to get press for himself he was not above showing up at charity events posing as a donor when in fact he hadn’t donated a dime to the cause. He also had a history of pretending to be a Donald Trump publicist while calling reporters singing the praises of guess who: Donald Trump. He was a master of rewarding those who gave him ink with access while denying access to those who portrayed him unfavorably in his view. The interesting part is that the unfavorable narrative was often spot on accurate.
Before he has even taken office he has shown that he will try and bully people to get his way. One instance was actually good; the other will be a disaster!
The GOP House caucus met the day before they actually took office and decided it would be a good idea to gut the Independent Office of Congressional Ethics. They were going to strip it of its independent status and make it report to the House Ethic Committee which they control. Speaker Paul Ryan actually objected to the change in the caucus meeting but was overruled by the majority of the Republican Representatives. (This is further evidence that Ryan really isn’t nearly as powerful as he is generally portrayed.)
Predictably the word leaked, Democrats and many Republicans went nuts! Trump tweeted that he wasn’t convinced about the timing of the move. Was that Trump suddenly being tempered in his language while still sending a message to Republican House members? If so it was a unique occurrence. More likely it was Trump’s way of telling what he envisions as his minions on the hill that they shouldn’t do it because he doesn’t like it. In any event the Republicans pulled the provision from the rules adoption and it never happened. That is a good thing for America! Word of caution: watch for the Republicans to slip something like this through in the future. They are certainly not the law and order candidates when the cop is on their block and they don’t control him or her.
The Mitch McConnell controlled Senate is racing to confirm Trump nominees. To say the least most of those nominees are controversial. I’m not being Pollyannaish; I certainly didn’t expect nominees that I would be in love with. This crew is something else as I have written about on several occasions. Normally a nominee goes through a vetting process conducted by federal government agencies. This policy is in place to protect the American people and to a lesser degree to protect the President from having someone slip by him. In the case of Trump’s nominees the vetting process is far from completion and probably won’t be finished when the Senate ultimately confirms them.
Also protests and coverage has been diluted by employing the strategy of holding as many as six confirmation hearings simultaneously. No single, very flawed, nominee stands in the spotlight alone. This is a page straight out of Shero’s book.
There is no doubt that Trump intends to be The Bully of the Beltway. What remains to be seen is how successful he will be.
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