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Joel BelzVoices Joel Belz

Reforming Trump

Some random contacts offer ideas

To say that President Donald Trump marches to his own drummer is to cut off debate before it even begins. You may or may not like the way he’s gone about things—but either way, you’re pretty much forced to agree that his has been a unique approach.

But just suppose that one of his aides were to email you this week to say: “The president is seeking some thoughtful outside-the-box thinking. If you had the ability and power to change just one thing about his administration, what would it be?”

Fantasy? Perhaps. But I was intrigued. So I emailed several dozen folks, randomly drawn from my laptop’s address book, and asked that very question. And for each suggestion, I also asked: “Is this issue so important that, without such a change, you might well vote for Trump’s opponent next November? Or might you say that other benefits of Trump’s leadership will probably prompt you to vote for him with or without that change?”

“Trump has a big ego, and he fights like a junkyard dog. But he fights to win.”

I was impressed by the number and the immediacy of the responses. Here are some samples.

“I would prefer that the administration be more outspokenly sympathetic to the plight of illegal immigrants, particularly to women and children. Other than that, I have no problems with the administration as such. I do have problems with Trump personally: his childish tweets, arrogance, and self-centeredness. But his appointments have been spectacular, so I’ll vote for him again.”

“Mr. Trump doesn’t seem to possess either personal humility or national humility. He spent the State of the Union address basically bragging. At one point he gave some credit to Congress, but not much. He seems to see everything through a lens of money—the love of money.”

“I would direct him to act like a gentleman at all times, which would mean, among other things, that he would eschew boasting, treat all other people respectfully, and not demean them.”

“Trump has a big ego, and he fights like a junkyard dog. But he fights to win, and he could not care less what the rest of Washington thinks. I say more power to him, because I don’t see anyone else out there with the confidence and the backbone to shake the status quo like he has.”

“I would immediately find the resources—money and manpower—to prepare for the next immigration crisis at the Mexican border. I only saw chaos in the handling of the crisis, which was shameful. PR needs to show order and compassion in words and pictures. I am sure we can get ahead of the game, and avoid another disaster at the border.”

“Trump’s overall character. That includes his demeaning lawmakers, world leaders, reporters, and various minorities in his speeches, tweets, and live events. His character has made a mockery of the office, and made it into what I think he really wanted—a reality show. … I can take the partisan nature of our democracy. But I really feel his presidency has only contributed to its falling to new lows.” 

“That he himself were capable of demonstrating integrity and honesty—and a commitment to heal partisan divides. (I did not vote for Trump last time. But I also did not vote for his opponent. This time, I may well vote for his opponent. It would be the first time I have voted for a Democrat in a presidential election.)”

Note well! There’s nothing scientific or statistically valid about this relatively tiny sample of the folks in my address book. But I’ve been around long enough to suggest that little pictures like these, taken cautiously, are better predictors of what lies down the road than you might first think. There are lots of nuances.

Only two of these seven respondents said they were still open to voting for Trump’s opponent. Check out that ratio over the next nine months! But while you’re doing those calculations, consider also how a nation’s loss of a consensus on important issues can be felt even in our personal address books.


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  •  SleeperSRT10's picture
    Posted: Mon, 02/17/2020 10:40 am

    I will not hesitate to vote for him again.  I thank God for a president that is willing to stand up for what is right and back his words with action.

  •  William Peck 1958's picture
    William Peck 1958
    Posted: Mon, 02/17/2020 08:30 pm

    totally agree.

  • JD
    Posted: Mon, 02/17/2020 11:10 am

    Ditto, SleeperSRT10!  It's a shame, Joel, that you didn't point out how the media's potrayal of Trump has been skewed and seemingly intentionally misleading and not giving the whole entire picture- as some of the responses you garnered reveal.  I have come to see that Trump (unwittingly or not) is pulling back the curtains on many things we have leaned on and blindly put faith in.  It doesn't help that those institutions keep trying to sell us fake narratives as truth.

  •  William Peck 1958's picture
    William Peck 1958
    Posted: Mon, 02/17/2020 08:31 pm

    good points, JD.

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Posted: Mon, 02/17/2020 11:40 am

    A righteous anger fills me as I read this foolish article about Trump! I can only ask where has Joel Belz been these last four years? Has he been pulling weeds in his garden, drinking tea and occasionally listening to CNN or ABC News every few weeks? 

    Joel is worried about "Reforming Trump" when the left has pointedly attacked Trump every move since before he was in office. Specifically, the databases used to track terrorists was the start, where they spied on Trump and his new and developing administration. This was all setup by the Obama Administration to shield them from their illegalities such as the "pay to play" scheme where the Clinton Foundation received on the order of 100 million by countries and businesses seeking to do business through the State Department. World had an article on this way back. Even Bill Clinton received $500,000 from the Russians by having him speak for some bankers. Other corruption was Biden being paid off through his son by a company in Ukraine and the Chinese where Biden's son received millions. The Obama administration setup their people throughout government where their loyalty was to the left, the Democratic Party, and their friends in the liberal MSM rather than the federal government.  All these people have been working to unseat Trump from day one. 

    Next came the Russian collusion story which the mainstream media, Democrats, and deep state government employees used  to try to remove Trump from office. Here they illegally used the FISA Warants to continue spying on Trump.  They used the power of the FBI to entrap and intimate Trump supporters such as Flynn, Stone, Corsi and others. The Russian Collusion story fizzled in a flop so they again used their deep state actors hidden in government to accuse Trump of wrongdoing. 

    They impeached Trump for abusing power and obstruction of Congress even though the the charges were on the flimsiest grounds. Jay Sekulow, a Christian brother in Christ, stated it well during the trial:

    Right before the vote on the impeachment in the Senate, Trump gave a gracious State of the Union Speech where he had a number of people highlighting key issues that Trump has addressed. Trump purposefully went through his list of accomplishments to highlight all he has done while Congress has sought to stop him with partisan political attacks and most glaringly the impeachment. Essentially, all work in the House of Representatives was shut down by Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff while the President was working hard FOR American. This was the reason why Trump highlighted his accomplishments and Joel Belz has the gall to quote one of the anti-Trumpers and say "He spent the State of the Union address basically bragging.” No, it wasn’t bragging but a righteous anger against an unjust attempt at seizing power by a corrupt party. For goodness sake can’t Belz even acknowledge that Schiff’s court, where Trump couldn’t even defend himself with witnesses was a kangaroo court! Can’t Belz acknowledge that an extreme injustice occurred at the hands of the Democrats? Where has Joel Belz been?

  •  William Peck 1958's picture
    William Peck 1958
    Posted: Tue, 02/18/2020 07:46 am

    agree on all.

  • Paul
    Posted: Tue, 02/18/2020 08:43 am


  •  William Peck 1958's picture
    William Peck 1958
    Posted: Tue, 02/18/2020 05:42 pm

    totally agree.

  •  William Peck 1958's picture
    William Peck 1958
    Posted: Tue, 02/18/2020 05:43 pm

    totally agree.

    Posted: Mon, 02/17/2020 12:20 pm

    I think we owe Clinton an apology for the way we treated his slogan, "It's the economy, stupid." We argued that character in leadership was more important than temporary national success, back then. Now, we're drunk with power and unwilling to part with it at any cost.

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Posted: Mon, 02/17/2020 02:44 pm

    It has nothing to do with being “drunk with power” but has everything to do with preventing an evil cabal from stealing the presidency and wiping Christians off the map. If you cannot see this then I would say you have no discernment! God in His sovereignty has chosen Trump with his warts and all. He is a tough fighting New Yorker who has taken up our cause fighting for life, religious liberties, gun rights, family values, capitalism, private property rights, justice on our streets, justice on our borders, a strong defense, and most importantly our ability to exist in society as Christians. Trump has appointed excellent judges to our courts. Trump utilize strong Christians in his cabinet. So exactly why do you attack our President? Because he is a tough fighter who isn’t always nice? But Jesus was not always nice either in His confrontation with the Jewish leaders by shouting out his “woes” and calling them “whitewashed tombs”. In fact, if you were there you might even claim he lacked character to be Messiah because He called a spade a spade!  

    I do think the attack on Clinton was justifiable years ago because he did lack character. If a government worker did what he did at work with an intern he would be fired, but old Bill got away with it! Trump has never done anything close to this while in office, so what exactly is the comparison? 

    We need to fight the real fight and help Trump lead us to victory. Certainly he is not perfect like so many other leaders in the Bible, but the truth is he is nowhere close to how bad you never-Trumpers claim he is!

  •  William Peck 1958's picture
    William Peck 1958
    Posted: Tue, 02/18/2020 07:47 am

    So you think Jay Sekulow is drunk with power too?

  • Andy Knudsen
    Posted: Mon, 02/17/2020 10:27 pm

    I will vote for President Trump if he repents of his public sins toward others. I stand in the Christian tradition that desires both wise policy and virtuous character in our leaders:

    "we urge all Americans to embrace and act on the conviction that character does count in public office, and to elect those officials and candidates who, although imperfect, demonstrate consistent honesty, moral purity and the highest character."

    "in general there is a reasonable threshold of behavior beneath which our public leaders should not fall, because the moral character of a people is more important than the tenure of a particular politician or the protection of a particular political agenda."

  •  William Peck 1958's picture
    William Peck 1958
    Posted: Tue, 02/18/2020 07:50 am

    so on a scale of 1-10, how would you rank Trump, Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer?

  • Andy Knudsen
    Posted: Tue, 02/18/2020 09:37 pm

    Representative Schiff, Representative Pelosi, and Senator Schumer are disqualified from my support by their policy positions, particularly because of their disregard for the dignity of human life.

  •  William Peck 1958's picture
    William Peck 1958
    Posted: Tue, 02/18/2020 07:50 am

    "To say that President Donald Trump marches to his own drummer is to cut off debate before it even begins."
    - which is exactly what Joel Belz does in the very first paragraph! "EVERYONE KNOWS THAT TRUMP NEEDS FIXED, so let's survey a couple of people and see what they say". See how he did that? Personally, I think Trump is doing just fine, warts and all.

    So Mr. Belz spends his precious time trying to fix Trump rather than writing about the abomination that is the Democrat Party? Got it.

    Note the arrogance of Mr. Belz to "reform Trump", complete with the know-it-all picture of Mr. Belz himself. I'm like 99.99% sure that this "survey" was NOT done for President Obama.

    A sample of 7 responses (as presented) from "several dozen emails" is useless and barely rises to the level of anecdotal. And if they are in Mr. Belz's address book, there's a good chance they are as anti-Trump as he is. I suggest Mr. Belz goes to a Trump rally, then asks the same question(s) to the people in the overflow crowd.

    Another totally unobjective scare tactic - Mr. Belz says even though 2 our of 7 would vote for Trump's opponent, CHECK BACK IN NINE MONTHS ... as if, boy, if we don't fix Trump, WE'RE DOOMED... YET - the accurate assessment would be to gauge Trump's support in Oct 2016 vs now, and THEN extend the line. I don't think Mr. Belz is going to be working for any data analysis company anytime soon.

  • Phil W's picture
    Phil W
    Posted: Tue, 02/18/2020 10:00 am

    Here's a survey Mr. Belz took on Obama:

    One of respondants said, "You asked what message I'd like to go to Washington. And I said to tell them to hang Obama. He's done more to destroy our government than any terrorist ever thought of doing. He should pay the ultimate price." And then: "You got that?"

    Here's a question Belz asked himself, "Is the Obama presidency dumb by design, or is it more a victim, as its top man insists repeatedly, of a run of bad luck?" He concludes, saying, "The result is embarrassing because the office of the presidency has been so demeaned."

    I don't know why we can't ask hard questions of this or any president like adults who think through the issues seriously. Trump's aggressive character and verbal abusiveness should sober us all. Maybe we'll still support him because of the bigger picture, but we shouldn't childishly mock each other for talking through problems and issues.

  •  William Peck 1958's picture
    William Peck 1958
    Posted: Tue, 02/18/2020 08:04 am

    Note that Mr. Belz doesn't email his contacts to say "Hey, how do you think Trump is doing?" Rather, he goes in with the presumption that Trump is "Unfit for Office" and asks "how can we fix this scumbag?"

    The arrogance of Mr. Belz is breathtaking.

    Frank Wright, President of D. James Kennedy Ministries, came out with "I was wrong about Trump" a few months back. There are many others who have changed their opinion, based on many positive things that Trump has done. Franklin Graham is a strong supporter of President Trump.

    I had hoped that one day I would see a mea-culpa from WORLD. Mr. Belz did choke out an "I was wrong" a few years back about Mike Huckabee. But Mr. Belz is taking the approach of Bill Kristol, the virulent anti-Trumper who drove the formerly outstanding publication "The Weekly Standard" into bankruptcy. Probably Joel Belz also exchanges harrumph's with Jonah Goldberg, another shout-from-the-rooftop anti-Trumper.

  • Paul
    Posted: Tue, 02/18/2020 08:37 am

    AL FRANKEN - yes the picture shows ol ex Senator Al  ....yet  it says its written by ol Joel- looks like Al, sounds like Al - must be Al ( they are all from the same neighborhood)...

  • RH
    Posted: Sat, 02/29/2020 07:44 pm

    Some of your folks did not like “his childish tweets” and demeaning other people with silly name-calling. Names like Pocahontas to a woman who lied about her “Indian” heritage.

    Playground names like Shifty Schiff and Nervous Nancy. Pencil-neck, Schiff, Mini-Mike, and Crooked Hillary (who should have been indicted and tried long ago for her email scandal).
    So ask your folks, “Would you prefer more “adult” name-calling?”
    Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and other House and Senate Democrats have called President Trump:
    Racist – when I was young, the worst thing you could call someone.
    Traitor – for over 2 years – the worst name you could call the Commander in Chief. If true, the penalty for treason is death. They want Trump dead!
    Lunatic – they do not like him, actually hate him, so he must be crazy, insane.
    Hitler and Nazi – Very disgusting names to call anyone.
    Homophobic – Islamophobic – standard names for Republicans.
    Liar -- One of your folks would like Trump to “act like a gentleman at all times.” Perhaps like Nancy Pelosi who very lady-like ripped up the President’s State of the Union Address in front of Congress, the Supreme Court Justices, the President and Vice-President, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and all Americans watching there and on television. When asked why she did it, she said, “It was all lies.” The Tuskegee Airman was not 100, that boy beside him was not his great-grandson, he did not want to go into the Space Force, unemployment is not down for Blacks and Hispanics, the economy is not doing well, regulations were not cut, everything was a lie, all lies.

    They have called Trump supporters “Deplorables” and “Irredeemable”. I am scum, not worth saving, in fact, I can’t be saved.

    They did not like his lack of personal or national humility. Perhaps they like a president who spent a year going around the world apologizing for everything we have done or not done. If you listen to Trump’s Rallies, he constantly refers to “we” in the accomplishments of the last 3 years. The former president always used terms like “I” and “Me” and “My”.

    The “two of seven” who would vote for any Trump opponent, should consider what Trump has done (taxes, trade, economy, defunding Planned Parenthood abortion clinics, near full employment), and what the opponent says he or she would do (dismantle the health care system, raise all taxes, stop coal production, become dependent on foreign energy, and who knows their foreign trade policy?).

    If you are going to base your vote on someone acting gentlemanly or ladylike, you may be hard-pressed to find any one to vote for (except maybe Mike Pence). Vote on the issues.