The president fired all the ambassadors! He’s issuing executive orders! He’s putting political cronies into trusted positions! He’s declaring his inauguration to be a special national day! Well, of course he is. It’s what presidents do in their first weeks in office. It’s what Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama did, too.
Much to the dismay (and perhaps even surprise) of his opponents, President Trump has charged into office determined to implement many of the policies he promised on the campaign trail. From dismantling the Affordable Care Act to changing the composition of the National Security Council, the president has fired off a series of decisions that have sparked major protests across the United States. There is no honeymoon with the press or the opposition, nor does the president seem to want one. (His approval ratings, predictably enough, are hitting historic lows for a new administration.)
There is plenty of fuel for the president’s critics in these actions, yet Trump’s opponents — especially in the media — seem determined to overreact on even ordinary matters. This is both unwise and damaging to our political culture. America needs an adversarial press and a sturdy system of checks and balances. Unmodulated shock and outrage, however, not only burn precious credibility among the president’s opponents, but eventually will exhaust the American public and increase the already staggering amount of cynicism paralyzing our national political life.