It’s been said by observers of his life and career that President Trump divides people into two categories — winners and losers.
Winners are those who succeed despite daunting odds, who show themselves to be the epitome of toughness and cunning. Losers are those who fold early, complain and find themselves unable to seal the deal. Winners receive praise, while losers are the target of criticism and name calling.
From his words about Gov. Laura Kelly at a White House meeting last week, it’s clear that the president has decided she’s a winner.
He praised both Kelly and GOP Gov. Asa Hutchinson as doing “a fantastic job.”
“You’ve been on most of those calls, Laura,” Trump said of regular calls with the nation’s governors. “I think we can say the Democrats have been as nice about what we’ve done as the Republicans. I mean it’s been terrific, and you know, Laura, I know she will speak her mind and so will some of the others, and if she was unhappy she’d be letting you know it.”
We’ve praised Kelly’s work to combat the coronavirus in the past, so there’s little we can add. But it’s heartening to know that Trump — a deal-maker and hard-nosed investor of the old school — recognizes that our governor is a formidable figure.
For that matter, given Kelly’s easy dispatching of supposed Trump favorite Kris Kobach in the gubernatorial race a couple of years ago, perhaps the president recognizes her political toughness and cunning as well.
All of this was bitingly ironic given that the Kansas Legislature met the very next day and voted to strip Kelly of much of her emergency power. That action, far from suggesting that legislators disagree with Trump, shows that they’re all too aware of Kelly’s effectiveness. She’s been a steady hand throughout the crisis, refusing to create arbitrary deadlines and working diligently to safeguard both the state’s health and its economy.
We’re not talking about all legislators, of course — the bills were pushed through by a desperate leadership unhappy that a Democratic governor, of all people, is in the spotlight day in and day out. It can be difficult to be around winners day in and day out, we suppose.
We shall see if the governor allows that legislation to become law. She’s been known to drive a hard bargain before, which is certainly a trait of our president’s beloved winners.