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Trump showed at RNC he's approaching the presidency like a smart CEO
Getting ready to govern.
One of the reasons I’ve been favorably inclined toward Donald Trump’s candidacy right from the start is that he saw something I saw when I ran four years ago. America needs a president who understands executive decision-making.
When I was a candidate, I met with Donald Trump to seek his advice. He was only too happy to see me, and we had a great conversation. One of the things we agreed on was that few candidates from either party seemed to understand how effective executive leaders make decisions, set priorities or put together teams who can get results.
Everything we saw at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this past week suggests that Trump is getting ready to do exactly that as president. I know the media paid more attention to the usual political noise, but if you paid attention, you saw something else. Trump’s acceptance speech on Thursday night was a powerful presentation of how he sees the nation’s problems, and of what he intends to do to address them. I’m sure the pundit class hated it and the Democrats were scowling, but everyday Americans who love their country surely heard a man who shares that love of country and has what it takes to bring it back to what it ought to be.
I was particularly impressed by the speech delivered by Donald Trump Jr., who talked about how he has been at his dad’s side since he was a child and witnessed him on construction sites seeking the input of workers on the job. Trump seemed to realize that those who were hands-on and actually doing the work had insight that your Wharton MBA would not have.
This is one of the reasons the Washington elite can’t stand Trump – because they don’t think he will listen exclusively to them. And he won’t. He knows that ordinary people have extraordinary insight into life – if only anyone will bother to listen to them. Trump will.
Another thing about his son’s speech was the discussion of how Trump finds ways to do things that people say can’t be done. This is why he was able to transform the Manhattan skyline. It was complicated and difficult, but it started with refusing to believe it when people told him it couldn’t be done. How many problems of the federal government need that kind of determination? Balancing the budget? Replacing the tax code? Replacing ObamaCare? Securing the border? Your run-of-the-mill politician looks at these things, shrugs his shoulders and says, “I’d love to, but I don’t see a way.”
The accomplished businessman insists that there has to be a way.
Mike Pence was also a very encouraging sign with his address on Wednesday night. Many good CEOs have a strong Chief Operating Officer, who overseas day-to-day operations and make sure everything is running smoothly. I have not been given any inside information that this is Trump’s vision for Pence, but it would make sense. Pence shares Trump’s vision for the country, and has inside experience governing at the state level and legislating at the federal level.
One of the criticisms of Trump is that he doesn’t seem very interested in policy details. I don’t think that’s true. I think he just understands that it’s his job to set the goals and he needs to bring aboard the right people to help determine how to accomplish the goals. Although I advocated for Newt Gingrich as vice president, and continue to believe he would have been excellent, it is clear from Pence’s speech last week and his track record that he is also an ideal choice to play this role.
Some people imagine that CEOs just delegate everything, then sit around barking vague orders without paying much attention to the details. Some do, but the good ones don’t. The good ones are very involved in every aspect of the operation, and know intimately what’s going on. But they don’t try to personally do things that they’ve empowered their people to do, because that’s when you’re undercutting your team.
Trump is clearly putting together his team and contemplating the roles he needs his key people to play. He’s also setting the goals, and making sure his team will have what it takes to accomplish them.
I know his presidency will not be like Reagan’s or those of other presidents we all revered. It will be unlike any we’ve seen. But that is not a bad thing. The times are different and the nation’s needs are different. A man like Donald Trump is just the man for the challenges we face today, and he’s already showing it in his preparation for the presidency.
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