LYNCHBURG, Va. — As with his campaign, Donald Trump’s presidency is developing into yet another epic tome, “The Tale of Two Trumps.”
This past weekend, President Trump delivered his first graduation speech as president at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. It was nothing short of spectacular.
If it had been his predecessor, the fawning media would have reported that the stormy clouds over Liberty Mountain parted as the president arrived and took the stage to deliver an address that was inspiring, funny and audacious.
“Relish the opportunity to be an outsider,” Mr. Trump charged the 18,000 graduating students from all over the world.
“Embrace that label — being an outsider is fine, embrace the label — because it’s the outsiders who change the world and who make a real and lasting difference,” he said at the unabashedly Christian university that has revolutionized modern American education.
Rejecting the lazy leftward lurch of colleges and universities across the country, Liberty does not flinch from its religious mission while promising to deliver an education in almost any discipline imaginable, and does so without crippling students under staggering debt for years after they have graduated.
The university’s model has proved spectacularly successful. More than 15,000 online students were among those who graduated Saturday.
What Liberty has done to education, Mr. Trump did to national politics last year. And the president was happy to do a little gloating.
“The more that the broken system tells you that you’re wrong, the more certain you should be that you must keep pushing ahead, you must keep pushing forward,” he said.
He was talking about Liberty, but just as well may have been talking about his own unflinching, fearless and anti-establishment campaign for the presidency.
In directing students to chart their own course, Mr. Trump also seemed to take a swipe at the media he loathes so much.
“No one has ever achieved anything significant without a chorus of critics standing on the sidelines explaining why it can’t be done,” he said. “Nothing is easier — or more pathetic — than being a critic.
“The future,” he said, “belongs to the dreamers. Not the critics.”
Mr. Trump was thoughtful and funny, and the crowd of thousands gathered inside the football arena loved it, especially all the jabs at the establishment and the media. They ate it up with a spoon.
By Monday, however, President Trump was tired of winning. The Washington Post reported that Mr. Trump had revealed some of America’s secrets in a meeting at the White House with — who else? — the Russians!
Sources and methods were compromised so seriously that American intelligence officials scrambled to smooth things over with allies that had been betrayed. Or so The Post reported. It is worth remembering that The Post has published numerous fake news stories about Trump, and this may be one of them.
The story is, as usual, based entirely on unnamed sources inside the administration.
If the story is true, it is not good, although the hysteria around the reporting of it surely has done more damage to American security than Mr. Trump’s alleged mistake.
But whether it is true or not, the fact remains that Mr. Trump does not have the faintest control over his administration. As he has exhorted many times — often on Twitter — the leaks must stop!!!
Only then can Mr. Trump get down to the business of making America great again.
• Charles Hurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; follow him on Twitter via @charleshurt.
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