President-Elect Donald Trump has all but declared that he will not appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton, as he promised during the campaign. The number of popular and energizing promises that Mr. Trump made before the election which are now being scuttled continues to rise. Some cynical political commentators might say that during the campaign Mr. Trump lied to get votes.
I don’t think Mr. Trump lied on the campaign trail. I think he was acting. Donald Trump was acting aggressive, mean-spirited, and vindictive because he knew (or intuited) that this façade would gain him votes. Like a poker player acting calm with his straight flush in hand, or a negotiator acting like he has the power position, Mr. Trump broadcasts whatever is necessary to make the deal that he wants to make.
Take one step further into this semi-metaphor of acting. Actors do not make films. Writers compose the script, producers arrange the logistics. And directors, as the name implies, really guide the show. Even the best of actors, with poor direction, can turn a good script into a disaster. Actors are lost without a good director.
We have seen what a good actor Mr. Trump is. We know that he can follow the direction of a discontented citizenry who believes that they have been put last on the agenda. We know that he can follow the direction of the real estate market and international business interests. We know that he works well under the direction of reality television rubrics.
In less than two months, Mr. Trump will be the President of the United States. The question is not whether he will be able to act well in that role. The star actor has stolen the show already. The crucial questions are different. Who will his director be? Who in fact will be running the show?