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President Trump and the art of governing, bypassing the media

Written By | Jan 10, 2018

President Donald Trump Screen Shot captured by CDN

WASHINGTON, January 10, 2018.: President Trump followed through on a couple of his promises: To make government transparent.  He also promised to bring together members of Congress from both parties to find a compromise solution to the immigration problem.

President Trump has done just that.

Normally when the president calls a meeting of select Congresspeople, the media sees who is present leaving before the discussion begins.  The purpose of removing the media from policy discussions is to allow free discussion, without worry about how the participants appear to the public.

The problem with that is the public finds out the content of the meeting through the filter of the press. It is sound bytes after the meeting and reporting via the ideological lens of the media. That means the public gets the information second or third hand, replete with bias and selected, often out of context, quotes.

That did not occur this time.

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How businessperson Trump makes a deal.

President Trump governs differently than any other president.  His primary goal is to get results.  He is less concerned about whether the results favor one party or another, but rather he is concerned with achieving results consistent with his views. He is willing to bend if the Senate and the House can reach an agreement that is close to the bullseye he sets.

Trump said he would sign whatever immigration bill Congress would pass and send to him.

“I’m not saying I want this or that.  I will sign it.”

He went on to say that there are very intelligent people in the room and in Congress.  He said he was confident that Congress would pass a bill that would solve the immigration problem and be acceptable to the American public.

The Trump strategy

The President brought together 25 legislators, 15 Republicans, and 10 Democrats.  He stressed that he wanted a bipartisan bill where each side’s primary concerns were addressed while recognizing that everyone would have to give a little.

By opening the meeting to the media, the public was able to see exactly how the process of governing works. President Trump created more transparency than any prior president.  He clearly shows how he governs and how he is willing to listen to the concerns of everyone. Watching the video, he repeatedly asks the senator’s “do you want to say something?”

The results from the media are telling.  Even CNN’s Dana Bash was positive toward the televised meeting saying:

“The bottom line is that this is … a year ago, this is the presidency that many people thought Donald Trump was capable of. We don’t know if this is a results-driven debate, but just the notion of him being in command, of him wanting the cameras in there. … This is what people who had high hopes for the Trump presidency thought it would be.”

During the meeting, we see how an effective businessperson can close the deal.

Closing the deal

As an example of how this technique is used in the business world, picture a real estate agent who has been hired by the seller of a home.  The primary goal of the agent is to close a deal to sell the house.  The secondary goal is to get as high a price for the seller as possible.

The agent finds a buyer.  Then the agent works to encourage the buyer to submit an offer.  If the offer is rejected by the seller, because the price is too low, the agent then becomes sympathetic to the buyer, so that the buyer feels confident the agent is working hard to get the seller to accept the offer.

The agent then goes to the seller and says he/she will try to get the buyer to raise the offer.

In other words, the agent gives the appearance that he/she is on the side of the seller while also being on the side of the buyer.  By gaining this confidence, the agent can usually get the buyer to raise the offered price and the seller to accept a lower price.

The deal closes.  The house is sold.  The agent is able to manage the desired result.

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Trump becomes the closing agent.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who attended the meeting, told the President,

“You have created an opportunity, Mr. President, and you need to close the deal.”

Exactly what Trump is doing.

Before the meeting, Trump set his goals. During the meeting, he appears to be on the side of the Democrats when he says he would accept a clean bill on DACA, gaining their confidence.  Then he saysa clean bill on DACA has to include a provision for border security.

He even got the Democrat Dick Durbin to say,

“Democrats are for security at the borders; I want to state that emphatically.”

In the end, Trump’s DACA meeting got the necessary results.  He wanted to discuss fixing the DACA problem, funding the border wall, ending the visa lottery and ending chain immigration.  The committee agreed to discuss all four points.

Trump is about to close the deal and show us all the art of governing.

Michael Busler

Michael Busler, Ph.D. is a public policy analyst and a Professor of Finance at Stockton University where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Finance and Economics. He has written Op-ed columns in major newspapers for more than 35 years.