Trump fatigue

It’s part of the reason the CN&R no longer publishes Eye on 45

A few weeks after Donald J. Trump was sworn in as president of the United States—a mind-boggling occurrence to this day—I started writing a news feature called Eye on 45.

Regular readers of this newspaper will recall its format: basically a rundown of the major news items from the previous couple of weeks related to his administration. Each little nugget, a paragraph or two in length, contained the gist of a national story, as reported by reputable news outlets. My go-to sources were The Washington Post and The New York Times, though I also gathered information from other news organizations, press conferences and live coverage of speeches. Oh, and the president’s favorite communication method: Twitter.

Longtime CN&R readers may remember a similarly structured feature about a decade ago called California Meltdown. A weekly read at first, starting in July 2009, the piece distilled the many events that were shaping California, including at the municipal level, as a result of the Great Recession. It transitioned to a biweekly offering that winter and shortly thereafter an occasional one before ending a year after it began.

I took inspiration from that write-up as the CN&R’s editorial staff gathered shortly after the 2016 general election to form a plan on keeping up with Trump and where he would lead the country. Having followed his campaign, we were quite concerned. We’d opined regularly on his dangerous rhetoric and vigorously opposed the candidacy and election of someone we viewed as a demagogue. Of course, we still believe he fits that descriptor—and worse.

Eye on 45 began as an every-other-week endeavor, but after about six months it became a monthly feature. Then, we ran it only occasionally. The last one appeared in June, roughly 17 months into Trump’s presidency.

I’ve been asked why I quit publishing it, but I’ve never addressed that question in the newspaper. The main reason: Oftentimes I wanted to use the space for happenings closer to home. While it’s nice to present readers with a single read on a variety of news items about the president, there simply are too many important local stories to tell. That’s doubly true post-Camp Fire.

Another reason: It was taking a toll on me. I ended up spending too much time—at work and home, day and night—reading about POTUS. I call it Trump fatigue. Sure, I still read about the commander in chief, but I don’t do so obsessively, and I don’t feel compelled to write about it all.

It’s interesting to look back at the first Eye on 45 published on Feb. 9, 2017. That single write-up includes the president contradicting media reports on the size of his inauguration crowd; floating the idea of an import tax on Mexico right after then-President Enrique Peña Nieto shut down the idea of that country paying for the wall; and firing acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who we later learned had warned the president that Michael Flynn, then his national security adviser (now disgraced and awaiting sentencing for lying to federal investigators), was vulnerable to Russian blackmail.

Anyone who’s paid attention over two years thereafter will recognize those early instances of lying, bullying and obstruction for what they are: hallmarks of the Trump administration.