EDITORIAL: Trump needs to hear the boos
This was something Donald Trump isn't used to.
The president had addressed the nation Sunday afternoon to announce the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi during a U.S.-led raid in Syria. He had deemed Baghdadi's demise more important than that of Osama bin Laden in 2011.
A photo had been released of him looking very serious in the White House Situation Room while watching the mission that rid the world of one of its most wanted men. He got to describe in detail Baghdadi's final moments, calling the terrorist a coward and saying he was crying and whimpering as he died, and Trump was considering releasing the video.
It had been a good start to the president's Sunday.
But later in the day he attended a World Series game, his first Major League Baseball game since becoming president. The hometown team, the Washington Nationals, were playing, and he was surrounded by some of his favorite congressional sycophants.
During the third inning salute to the military, with a swell of cheers erupted as members of the armed forces stood.
And then Trump was on the Jumbotron, smiling and waving.
The cheers turned to boos. Loud and clear. No mistaking what was happening. Someone in the stadium started a chant: "Lock him up!"
The smile faded. The waving hand lowered to his side. Suddenly Trump looked all of his 73 years and more, his gaze down, visibly sighing.
This is not a look we have seen from this president — because this is not a reaction this president has seen.
Normally, Trump is shielded from those members of the American public who are not his fans. He speaks at campaign rallies, at fundraisers, before crowds of people wearing red MAGA hats and waving pro-Trump signs. He doesn't dine out in Washington unless its at his own hotel, according to The Association Press. His motorcade bypasses most areas where there might be protesters. When he visited London this summer, he was flown by helicopter to avoid throngs of demonstrators.
Coming face to face with a hostile crowd is not something Trump was expecting on this day.
But he should have expected it. He should expect it every day. And he should see it every day.
The Nationals crowd was primed for this reaction. Trump received only 4% of the D.C. vote in 2016.
The nation was primed for this, too. Trump's disapproval rating stands at 54.2%, according to fivethirtyeight.com, while his approval rating is at 40.7%. This as he fights a House impeachment inquiry, as the Federal Reserve Board continues to cut interest rates in the wake of a slowing economy, as his immigration policies and foreign policy and economic policy are constantly under scrutiny.
The country was ready to see Trump in public and let him know what it thought of him.
But Trump is kept behind closed doors, seen only by a select few, seen through video or photos or tweets but rarely under public scrutiny.
That's just wrong.
Trump has created these troubles for himself. His handling of Ukraine, of the Kurds and Syria, of China, of Russia, of immigrants, of divisions in our country, of his own employees and properties continues to pile up into a horrifying mass of lies, mismanagement and greed.
He should see what the public thinks of him. He should go out and let people boo him and chant at him. He should be aware of the reaction the citizens of this country have when they see him.
The boos should not be unexpected, and Trump should hear them every day. The White House needs to push Trump out of his bubble of rally fans and executive time and make him come face to face with the people he is supposed to lead.
That, unfortunately, is not expected.