In their recent name-calling exchange, actor Robert De Niro labelled President Donald Trump “baby-in-chief.” But is that a fair and accurate description of the president’s behavior?
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I would suggest that his behavior can be more accurately described as that of a two-year-old. After all, so many of them go through a phase called “the terrible two’s.”
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It is marked by temper tantrums and irrational behavior. Thankfully, nearly all two-year-olds quickly out-grow this phase. Evidently, Mr. Trump did not.
Consider just the two-day period of June 11th and 12th. After insulting the host of the G-7 meeting, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, Mr. Trump refused to sign the organization’s pro forma press communique, and stormed out of the meeting.
He then jumped on Air Force One and arrived a day earlier than scheduled in Singapore for his summit meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Rather than wait, he demanded that the meeting be moved up a day. He reportedly said, “We’re here now. Why can’t we just do it?”
Unwilling to wait until the next day, the president threatened to call the whole thing off. Fortunately, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – who had labored long and hard to set up the summit – and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders were able to calm him down, perhaps by persuading the president that there would be far greater TV coverage if he just waited one more day.
Parents of children going through their “terrible twos” know that eventually this behavior will end. Those who harbor similar hopes for Mr. Trump may need to be reminded that our president just turned seventy-two.
Labeling Mr. Trump baby-in-chief is extremely unfair to babies. Hopefully Mr. De Niro would be willing to consider changing this appellation to the more accurate two-year-old-in-chief.
Steve Slavin has a PhD in economics from NYU, and taught for over thirty years at Brooklyn College, New York Institute of Technology, and New Jersey’s Union County College. He has written sixteen math and economics books including a widely used introductory economics textbook now in its eleventh edition (McGraw-Hill) and The Great American Economy (Prometheus Books) which was published last August.