Opinion

An unprecedented president

Just 100 days in, it's clear Americans have never seen anything like Donald Trump

President Trump.

This is the editor's letter in the current issue of The Week magazine.

I'm often asked how Donald Trump's presidency has affected our work here at The Week, and my honest answer is that it's made it immeasurably more ... challenging. We published the first issue of this magazine 16 years ago this month, and never have I seen a White House generate news and controversy at this pace and volume. The moment we send a completed issue off to the printers, with fresh perspective on the latest policy initiatives and reversals, internal infighting, Twitter pronouncements, court battles, and investigations, our unconventional new president suddenly muses aloud that, say, he might cut off funding to ObamaCare or launch a pre-emptive strike on nuclear North Korea. Covering him is like riding a raging rodeo bull; you can only hold on for dear life.

Trump has clearly fulfilled at least one promise — to turn Washington on its head. That's created another challenge: The political commentary we curate and distill has changed course, the way a river might after an earthquake. Conservative columnists and editorial writers who once reliably applauded Republican presidents aren't clapping for this one. Indeed, many small-government, free-market conservatives are appalled by Trump's many heresies and unnerved by his undisciplined tweeting and the flexibility of his rapidly shifting views. Roughly two-thirds of all the commentary about Trump we see in most weeks has been negative or deeply ambivalent. That includes what we find in both liberal sources and conservative sources such as National Review, Commentary​Magazine.com, and The Wall Street Journal — a reality accurately reflected in our pages. If Trump succeeds in replacing ObamaCare with something Americans like better, disarms North Korea, reforms the tax code, stimulates 3 percent growth, and revives the Rust Belt, the commentary will become mostly positive, and we'll reflect that too. Our nation is only 100 days into this grand adventure, and anything, evidently, is possible. We live in interesting — and challenging — times.

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