Editorial: Beyond the Distractions

Eight years ago, the nation welcomed a new president who was elected to make the government more responsive to the people. On Friday, we did it again.

President Obama called for hope and change; President Trump offered hope that his changes will make America greater. From there, the similarities may be few.

The months ahead will bring debates over health care regulations, immigration policies, trade pacts, tax reform, and other aspects of government that could change the quality of life for a whole generation. The talks will be complex, divisive—and important.

That work won’t be successful if it is mired in paranoia and pettiness that the new administration needlessly displayed during its first days on the job. It doesn’t matter how many people were—or weren’t—at the inauguration. And every president has been targeted by critics staging protests and marches outside the White House doors. The presidency is not under siege; democracy is churning along as it has for nearly a quarter century with the tools at hand.

To tackle more substantive issues, the administration must lead the way beyond these types of unproductive distractions and find elements of common ground on which to begin solving the real problems facing the country.

This week, much of the government’s energy has been wasted on sparring over facts and the absurdity of “alternative facts.”

There are a few “actual facts” that can form the foundation of the debates ahead: Mr. Trump wants to be a great president and the nation needs him to be one.

Let’s start there.

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