For the last four years, cadets at the Coast Guard Academy have dedicated themselves to the motto that "the sea yields to knowledge." Today the cadre of officers who graduated from that institution learned another lesson: drowning men don't willingly yield to reality.
For the last four months, President Trump has thrashed from one crisis to another. Pushing aside political life preservers, Trump continues to swim farther from safety. As he made clear during his commencement address, the president is simply too proud not to sink.
At first Trump offered standard commencement platitudes warning the graduating cadets that "over the course of your life, you will find that things are not always fair." But rather than encouraging them to rejoice in the challenge or seek self-improvement in opposition, the president just started grumbling.
Moving quickly from public celebration to self-pity, Trump bogged the cadets down with talk of his troubles. "Look at the way I've been treated lately, especially by the media. No politician in history," Trump complained, "has been treated worse or more unfairly." And maybe he has a bit of a grievance.
Journalists have been more than happy to trade in conjecture during his tenure, reporting breathlessly about the possibility of impeachment. Instead of shutting the critics up by changing course and winning a legislative victory, Trump has refused to change course.
"You will find that things happen to you that you do not deserve, and that are not always warranted," he complained, "but you have to put your head down and fight, fight, fight."
When Trump should be taking stock of his situation, he's diving deeper as his presidency slips deeper beneath the surface. Each time the White House ran aground over the last two weeks, it's been Trump's fault. He contradicted his own staff numerous times, publicly blackmailed the FBI director, and deliberately shared classified intelligence with the Russians.
While his critics on the left cheer the drowning president, more than politics is at stake. Trump's bringing the country down with him.
For all his talk about "serving the forgotten man" and "fighting for the American people," one would think Trump would stop flailing and start trying to save a much needed reform agenda. But as the president showed the graduating cadets, he's too proud to stop swallowing water.
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.