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Donald Trump discovers the world is complicated

Trump said he thought being president would be easier than his previous job. He was wrong about that—and many other things


 
U.S. President Donald Trump looks out a window of the Oval Office following an interview with Reuters at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 27, 2017. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

U.S. President Donald Trump looks out a window of the Oval Office following an interview with Reuters at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 27, 2017. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

Compared to his previous job of running a TV game show, one in which Donald Trump watched D-list celebrities try their hand at various business tasks, Trump thought being President of the United States of America would be an easier gig.

“I loved my previous life. I had so many things going,” Trump told Reuters earlier this week. “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.”

Here are several more issues Trump didn’t think would be quite so complicated.

Health care

A common theme of Trump speeches during his presidential campaigning was how he would “repeal and replace Obamacare.”

In fact, two weeks before his surprising election win, Trump told a Florida crowd that replacing the health care bill would come on his first day in the Oval Office.

Only it didn’t quite work out that way. In February, more than a month into his presidency, Trump said in a meeting with the country’s governors: “I have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject. Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.”

Even with a Republican majority in both the House and Senate, the bill was pulled in March when it became apparent it was destined to fail in a vote. But Trump remains convinced he’ll push the bill through.

“I know that we’re all going to make a deal on health care. That’s such an easy one,” Trump said in late March. “So I have no doubt that that’s going to happen very quickly.”

House Republicans are now on their third attempt to get enough votes for the new health care bill to pass, but they might be short on votes—again.

North Korea and China

It takes the average golfer about 10 minutes to finish a par-3 hole. That’s also the amount of time it takes for Trump to completely change his mind on how to deal with China and North Korea.

Trump always talked tough about how he would deal with the two nations. “On day one of a Trump administration, the U.S. Treasury Department will designate China a currency manipulator,” he once wrote in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal.

But Trump also maintained that the problems stemming from North Korea’s dictatorship—and its constant nuclear threats—could be fixed if the Chinese government stopped supporting them.

Then the day came when Trump actually spoke with someone from China about these issues. After meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Trump said it took only 10 minutes for him realize that China’s influence over North Korea is not so cut and dried.

“After listening for 10 minutes, I realized it’s not so easy,” Mr. Trump said. “I felt pretty strongly that they had a tremendous power [over North Korea]. […] But it’s not what you would think.”

In the interim, Trump still hasn’t designated China as a currency manipulator.

Trade

Trump said this in March 2016: “Nobody knows more about trade than me.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel would likely disagree. When the two world leaders sat down to discuss trade recently, President Trump reportedly asked her 10 times about negotiating a U.S.-Germany trade deal, to which Merkel replied each and every time that the negotiation must be with the European Union trading bloc, not Germany alone.

Trump did get the message, eventually, after his 11th ask—and 11th rejection from Merkel—at which point he finally said: “Oh, we’ll do a deal with Europe then.”

Merkel did convince the president to prioritize a trade deal with the EU over a post-Brexit United Kingdom, but when she reported back to her cabinet, she reportedly told them that Trump had “very basic misunderstandings” regarding multinational trade agreements.

Slavery and the Civil War

The thing is, despite Trump’s recent revelations that some issues are more complicated than he originally thought, he maintains a simplistic view of the world, as emphasized by his recent comments about the American Civil War (while professing his admiration for former president Andrew Jackson, who died almost two decades before the Civil War began).

“I mean, had Andrew Jackson been a little later you wouldn’t have had the Civil War. He was a very tough person, but he had a big heart. He was really angry that he saw what was happening with regard to the Civil War, he said, ‘There’s no reason for this,’ ” Trump said. “People don’t realize, you know, the Civil War, if you think about it, why? People don’t ask that question, but why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?”


 

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