Kremer’s Corner: The burdens facing President Trump

On Jan. 5, 1966 I walked into a tiny Albany office in the state capitol, ready to take on the responsibility of being an elected member of the state Assembly.

Having had six years of experience in local government I felt that I could take on the responsibility of representing the 175,000 people who lived on the South Shore of Long Island, but I had my share of uneasiness.

I knew that state legislators made laws as I had seen many of them during my local service.

But there was no handbook or one-month preparatory class for newly elected officials.

Shortly after my arrival in Albany I was summoned to the Assembly chamber to take part in the seat selection process.

I didn’t expect to be seated in the first few rows of the chamber as they were reserved for the more senior members.

And as luck would have it, I was assigned a seat in the last row.

I confess that during those early days, I was in awe seeing state government, not as an outside observer, but as a member of a body that had the power to change people’s lives, hopefully for the better.

During that period of time Albany had its celebrities such as Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, surrounded by advisors such as Henry Kissinger.

These are a few observations illustrating the experience of a political neophyte.

I am contrasting this short history of my earliest days in politics, with the President-elect Donald J. Trump and what thoughts may or may not be going through his mind.

Mr. Trump is the son of a wealthy father. He always had the best of everything from military school to the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

I was a first-generation office holder whose father toiled as a milkman and a grocery store owner.

Trump has had a charmed existence never wanting for anything and always able to get out of his business headaches either through bankruptcy or the use of other peoples’ money.

But no matter who you are in life, becoming an elected official, especially President of the United States and the voice of 300 million people, has to be a mind blowing experience.

Over the years we have known Donald Trump to be brash businessman, a great marketer and the creator of a successful brand.

But I am hopeful that on the first day that he walks into the fabled Oval Office, he takes a very deep breath and is in awe of what it’s like to be this country’s leader.

Running a real estate empire, building golf courses and condominiums, is not considered basic training to be a president.

In the private sector you can snap your fingers and everyone stands at attention. You can hire and fire with no real consequences as the world is not watching you.

The two-plus months leading up to the inauguration have been a circus sideshow.

Tweets on a cell phone attract attention and get some people nervous and upset.

But when you speak from the nation’s capital, words have a lot more meaning and the wrong words can lead to a national crisis.

You can brush aside the controversy of hacking by Russian President Putin, but once in office you can’t ignore a Russian invasion of a NATO ally.

Mr. Putin is not Mr. Rogers, and sooner or later he will turn your neighborhood upside down.

As a state legislator the only people who follow you around are your loyal staffers.

As President of the United States, you are followed by a soldier a suitcase that can start a nuclear war, with more consequences than a silly tweet.

The voters who supported Donald Trump may have chosen him because they viewed him as a person who didn’t believe in being politically correct.

But once you sit in the seat of power you have to be a lot more politically correct and a lot more measured in your words.

In the weeks and months ahead, the caring people of this country are hoping that the new president takes on the job with the seriousness that it deserves.

That he conducts himself in a manner  to be worthy of sitting in the Oval office.  And that someday some youngster says that a President Trump inspired him or her to seek high office.

That’s the burden a new president must bear and we all pray he will do it well for our sake.

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