Over the years I’ve come in contact with every type of negotiator. Each person had a unique style that greatly impacted success and failure. By far, the most controversial is President Trump.
Coming from a business background, I understand dealmakers, bankers, corporate executives and the like. Like most people, I’ve also met my share of small time hustlers at car dealerships and real estate agencies.
Business people are always looking for an edge over the competition and their customers. Negotiating the best price and terms comes naturally, although every person has different strong suits and shortcomings in their approach. When you walk into an auto dealership showroom, the salesmen size you up. Are you a buyer or window shopper? Do you have the financial wherewithal to pay for an expensive car? How difficult would it be to foist expensive services and options on you?
Donald Trump is a salesman, a real estate rainmaker, who expects to make a killing on every transaction he consummates. During his corporate career, he was notorious and could care less what anyone thought about him personally, or his business ethics. He enjoyed taking advantage of others, and let the world know whenever he bamboozled another person.
Every person has a style that he or she believes will result in the best outcome. Some buyers are super aggressive and try to intimidate sellers. Trump is from this old school. He’s a rough and tumble deal guy. When Trump was a real estate mogul everyone knew that he would take every opportunity to screw the opposition. He would lie, cheat, cajole, insult, charm or do anything to improve the terms.
Trump managed to segue from real estate into the most powerful man on Earth. Can you believe it? Many people hoped that his campaign was a lark, a reality show. What the hell, Trump made a fortune. He thought he was more intelligent and savvy than Obama and both of the Bush presidents. Why not add the presidency to his resume? It would enable him to hobnob with more celebrities.
Up until election night, I thought Trump would walk away or get eaten alive by the electorate. But, I’ll be damned. He won fair and square. Even as he continued to act like a “real estate guy” he built a base of supporters because previous presidents performed poorly. Trump promised to turn the establishment on its ear. He has certainly been successful in this regard.
Many people expected Trump to be more “presidential” after his election. Hopefully he would be less rude, stop tweeting stupid things and be more respectful towards congressional colleagues and world leaders. Maybe he would even stop being so self-aggrandizing and tone down his act. Nope.
Trump did none of these things. What he did do is keep his promises, even though they were often naïve and not well conceived. He just wants to do all the things necessary to make America great.
Trump believes the border is porous and the US needs a wall. He will continue to drive Congress, liberals, Mexico, illegal aliens and his advisors crazy until he gets his way. The whole truth sometimes gets in the way so the president takes shortcuts and shuns the details. He has thousands of bright people working for him who will dot the i’s and cross the t’s.
The North Korean situation is classic Trump. He jumped into the fray by threatening Kim Jong-un for shooting missiles over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean. He concocted an insulting nickname for Kim (“the little rocket man”). Kim potentially had the ability to launch missiles on to American soil, and Trump was engaging in a schoolyard name-calling contest.
By acting unrestrained and belligerent, threatening North Korea with oblivion and ratcheting up sanctions, Trump brought Kim to the negotiating table. He has a decent chance to trade economic prosperity and security for denuclearization of North Korea. Not bad for a foul-mouthed real estate person.
During the Republican primaries, Trump had insulting names for many of his opponents. It was great TV, but many Americans were worried that Trump would single-handedly change the culture of Washington, for the worse. Everyone was becoming more crude and insulting. Many started tweeting. Most began to exaggerate. Even the press was an active player (fake news).
Time passed and Trump has not changed his demeanor. His method of operating remains the same:
-meet a world leader (or business person or politician)
-charm the person
-demand stuff (better trade terms, improved human rights, less weapons, support of his initiatives)
-go insane when the person does not comply
-belittle the person on Twitter
-the person caves and starts to negotiate.
Trump will use any means available to get his way and to keep his promises. My concern is that despite the obvious MO of the president, everyone (Democrats, world leaders, religious groups, lobbies, politicians, mayors and governors, Congress people) is continually shocked by Trump’s actions and outlandish statements.
The country is at a crossroads. Should we turn a blind eye to the president’s outrageous behavior because he is performing (economy, immigration, taxes, renegotiation of trade deals, relations with enemies), or do we revolt in November and again in 2020? Will another political hack from the establishment be as productive as Trump? How much more of this guy’s act can you put with?
Personally, I’m sick of the president’s MO, but I like many of the things he’s doing, and I’m terrified that do-nothing Democrats could possibly gain control of the country.
Please, Mitt and Nikki, save us from both Trump and the liberals.