It is long past time for President Trump to stop trolling on Twitter. Some conservatives love it when Trump posts a meme of him with a bloodstained shoe and the CNN logo, but let’s be honest: Those who love it do not matter. They are going to love Trump no matter what he does. Trump’s most loyal followers will not abandon him if he behaves in a more presidential and professional manner.
What Trump needs is wavering Republicans and blue-collar Democrats to stick with him. He needs former #NeverTrump voters who are happy with his conservative policies. Acting in an unprofessional and unpresidential manner does not help him where he needs it. That behavior harms him where he needs help. And if you think a silly “bloody shoe” meme does any actual political harm to CNN or provides any political benefit to Trump, you are a fool.
But this goes far beyond silly political feuds with politicians, celebrities or news media personalities. His rhetoric on Pakistan was grossly irresponsible. It is true that Pakistan has been a poor ally. Substantively, President Trump not wrong. The problem is that he should not be saying that on Twitter. The correct response is to take a harder diplomatic line behind the scenes and pivot on policy. You do NOT blab about it on social media. That is both unprofessional and unpresidential.
I have become a Trump supporter because he has been right on policy: Cutting taxes, rolling back ObamaCare, rolling back job-killing environmental regulations, and solid picks for the judiciary. But he is reckless and undisciplined. If he would just shut up and do his job, he would be a great President. His ego will not allow that. He has a narcissistic need to be the center of attention at all times, and being President has not satisfied that need. It has made his narcissism worse. That does not inspire optimism.
And yes, of course we should “push back” against the Left. One of the big reasons we have Trump as our party’s standard-bearer is because the grassroots was fed up with Republicans who did not fight back. But you can “push back” in a disciplined and measured way: Harsh but truthful, hard-hitting but not personal. That is where Trump has failed, and where he needs to do better: For his own sake, for the Republican Party, and for the good of the nation. Trump’s closest advisors (starting with Mike Pence, who cannot be fired by Trump) need to work harder to restrain his worst impulses. Let’s show some courage, people.