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Letter: Trump will not be able to hustle Putin, Merkel

Trump will not be able to hustle Putin, Merkel

This is what bothers me about President-elect Donald Trump: He has no sense of history – a subtle process we underestimate at our peril that is acquired in one way only: by reading books.

Trump isn’t a reader. He’s a businessman and a hustler, and very good at both, but these are not qualities to serve you well when you sit down at the table across from the likes of Vladimir Putin or Angela Merkel. These people are hustler-proof. They are statesmen or stateswomen. They understand history. It’s a different breed.

The Hitler analogy has popped up from time to time, but that argument fails for a number of reasons – a different country at a different time and so forth. But also, Hitler had charisma and was a powerful speaker. Trump has the charisma of a stomach cramp, and listening to him speak is like having a root canal without the novocaine.

It’s possible that as president, he will remain the buffoon he was during the campaign. Or the office may serve to inspire him in a positive way, to administer a small dose of humility or maybe compassion. I admit it’s a stretch.

One thing is certain: The next four years will be more interesting – for good, bad or otherwise – with Trump in and Hillary Clinton out. He is unpredictable, also known as good copy, the answer to a journalist’s prayer.

Jack Spiegelman


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