As Harvey still rages, the wait for the Donald Trump ‘pivot’ continues

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

A message for everyone waiting eagerly for Donald Trump to “pivot” into a competent presidency: please write your name and social security number on your torso so we can properly identify you after everything goes straight to hell.

Hurricane Harvey was the rarest of disasters to strike during the Trump presidency — a maelstrom not of Mr. Trump’s making, and one that offers him an opportunity to recapture some of the unifying power of his office he has squandered in recent weeks.

Oh, New York Times reporters. Will you never learn.

In announcing his trips, he used the dulcet, reassuring and uplifting language of prior presidents. His rhetoric was strikingly different from his much-criticized pronouncements at a news conference this month when he equated the actions of leftist protesters in Charlottesville, Va., with the violent, torch-wielding alt-right activists who hurled anti-Semitic and racist epithets.

He read a statement prepared by someone else from a piece of paper he was given. He didn’t read it well. He limited his mid-speech asides and outbursts to what, for him, must seem a torturous minimum. It was in the middle of a joint press conference with the president of Finland, a man whose grasp of facts, issues, the English language, and recognizing people at a slight distance all outstripped that of our own leader during his brief appearance.

All right, let’s cut to the chase:

But many of those in the president’s orbit are worried Mr. Trump will not be self-controlled enough to maximize the moment.