Trump’s erratic first week was among the most alarming in history

On the new president’s agenda when he woke up the next morning, The Post’s Karen Tumulty and Juliet Eilperin reported, was an angry phone call with the acting director of the National Park Service. Peeved over reports about inauguration crowd size, Trump ordered up new photographs of the event.


Anyone who paid even glancing attention to the 2016 campaign already understood Donald Trump to be undisciplined, easily provoked and self-absorbed to the point of narcissism. But it was one thing to know that in theory; it was much more unsettling to witness President Trump in action. In depressing retrospect, the dark inaugural address, with its invocation of “carnage” and “tombstones,” was the week’s high point.


But the first week of the Trump presidency was alarming in a different way, because the frightening part involved the president’s own erratic, even bizarre, behavior.


There have been occasions of terrible presidential judgment — Franklin D. Roosevelt’s order to detain U.S. citizens and noncitizens of Japanese descent during World War II. And there have been moments of looming constitutional crisis — during Watergate alone, the Saturday Night Massacre, the showdown with the Supreme Court over the release of the tapes, the impeachment inquiry that resulted in Richard Nixon’s resignation.


There have been scarier weeks for the country, certainly — the Cuban missile crisis and the Sept. 11 attacks. There have been more tragic ones — the Sept. 11 attacks again, the terrible toll of wartime, the horror of four presidential assassinations.



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