For a nation to be great, it must be stable. For its people to be content, they must believe that their institutions are trustworthy and competent. But the events of this week exposed the nation’s growing instability under the increasingly incompetent and untrustworthy President Donald Trump and his administration. The United States needs and deserves better. This week alone:
- A federal judge refused to sentence former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and said of his conviction for lying to FBI agents about his conversations with the Russian ambassador, “Arguably, you sold your country out.”
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average saw its worst weekly plunge since 2008, at least partially because of Trump’s trade war and uncertainty over a potential government shutdown.
- Trump’s acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, lied in claiming that no Department of Justice official had suggested he recuse himself from the Russia investigation.
- Defense Secretary James Mattis quit, and in a startling letter to Trump, he repeatedly implied the president was alienating America’s allies and enabling its enemies.
- Trump announced that U.S. forces in Syria would come home because the Islamic State has been defeated (it hasn’t) and that half of our 14,000-strong U.S. military force in Afghanistan would come home, too. The unexpected new policies flustered and terrified American military leaders and our Kurdish allies, and delighted Vladimir Putin and the despotic leaders of Turkey and Syria.
- Trump swung wildly over whether to shut down the federal government over the wall at our Southern border.
The nation has a defense secretary who is leaving, a conflicted acting attorney general and a departing White House chief of staff. The president, whose job it is to corral this chaos, is indulging in a Twitter-frenzy of braggadocio and nonsense. Donald Trump promised to make America great again. Right now, he’s just making it angry and unsettled. — The editorial board