A President Willing to Roll Up His Sleeves and Work

No one would deny that the job of President of the United States is one of the toughest in the world. Just ask Hillary Clinton, who thankfully will never know this from firsthand experience, but who described it in exactly those terms. Fact checkers disagreed, however, instead reserving that distinction for Alaskan crab fisherman.

The presidency is not about physical labor in harsh conditions. Quite the opposite. A bevy of aides and assistants, residence in the equivalent of a palace, the most efficient and luxurious private transportation available and the finest security service insulating the president from weather, traffic, delays, and the myriad other hassles the rest of us face in our daily movements. 

What about emotionally challenging? Medical professionals have an emotionally difficult job. In my world, someone losing vision despite my best efforts is devastating. Even worse is a patient dying, especially a child. Not to discount a lost life, a president makes decisions affecting hundreds, thousands, or millions of lives through military exercises or all-out war.  

Yet it is the day-to-day work of the president that is taxing, CEO of the world’s largest corporation, commander-in-chief of the deadliest military force in the world.

Donald Trump is still several weeks away from assuming office and we are already seeing signs of his work ethic. An appropriate and welcome response to the seriousness of the job ahead.

Post-election the media caterwauling began, including how his transition team was in disarray and his cabinet selections were so far behind schedule that his presidency would be a joke. Not so. Just more fake news. Instead his transition was ahead of schedule according to Nate Silver’s blog. Trump was hard at work.

As the inauguration approaches, there is talk of parties, balls and entertainment. The A-list celebrities, most of whom should already be out of the country based on their pre-election promises, refuse to perform at the inauguration. “And that’s a great thing” says CNN.  

Trump is working, but the celebrities choose not to.

Just Jackie Evancho, a young singing prodigy, but not an A-lister like Bruce Springsteen, Jay-Z, or Beyoncé, all of whom were happy to perform for Hillary Clinton’s anemic presidential campaign. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Radio City Rockettes are slated to perform, although a few individual members of the ensembles are shouting #NeverTrump and refusing to sing or dance. 

Trump is planning only three inaugural balls, one of which will be exclusively for military members and first responders. He also plans for a shorter and quicker inaugural parade. Expect him to be looking at his watch frequently, eager to get to the White House and hold his first cabinet meeting, either that night or early the next morning.

Compare the pomp and circumstance of the Obama inaugurations. Ten inaugural balls in 2009 followed by an after-hours party at the White House for Oprah and other power players. Entertainment was provided by those in no hurry to leave the country when Obama beat John McCain. Bruce Springsteen, Mary Blige, James Taylor, John Legend, Stevie Wonder, Beyoncé, U2, and the rest of the Democrat Party entertainment corps. 

Obama’s inauguration also saw a Kids’ Inaugural as the Obama’s had young daughters. Miley Cyrus, the Jonas Brothers, Usher, and Katy Perry performed. Yes the same Miley who called Trump a “f***ing nightmare” and promised to “move out da country” if Trump won the presidency. 

Donald Trump also has a young son, but there are no plans for an inaugural ball for him featuring Miley or Katy. 

Trump, instead of partying, realizes he has a job to do. The scaled down inauguration reflects, “Trump’s eagerness to get to work in order to make our country safer and stronger.”

What about vacations? Trump has promised no long vacations and no presidential salary during his time in the White House. "There's just so much to be done," Trump said. "So I don't think we'll be very big on vacations, no."

Compare to Obama, with his 29 vacations averaging about 30 days per year and costing taxpayers nearly $100 million. Nothing wrong with a vacation and the costs that go along with presidential security and travel, but certainly a difference in approach to working and vacations, at least the perception of the President’s leisure time. 

Speaking of leisure time, don’t forget golf, most rounds not occurring during vacation time or counted as such, but still taking the better part of a day to play 18 holes. Obama has played over 300 rounds of golf in his eight years as president. 

Trump doesn’t need the presidential salary. One could argue about the salary necessity for other White House occupants. Bill Clinton’s annual salary was far less then he now makes for one short speech. And Barack Obama is worth $12.2 million following eight years earning $400,000 per year. Interesting math. 

Donald Trump is a successful and wealthy businessman. As are most in his cabinet. They already have the perks of money and power. Most couldn’t care less about their salary as the Secretary of Whatever. Instead they are willing to work, longer and harder than they need to, giving back to their country, assisting their new boss in making America great again. 

It’s doubtful many of them care to hang out with celebrities at swanky White House parties or be serenaded by the Democrat Party choristers who frequented the Obama White House. 

Instead Trump and his team are already rolling up their sleeves ready to get to work. What a refreshing change from politicians focused on themselves and what political office does for them rather than what they could be doing for the country. 

Trump’s new tone reflects the words of another president from over a hundred years ago, Teddy Roosevelt. “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”

Brian C Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter

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