I don't trust the President's instincts. In fairness, I don't trust anyone else's, either.
In an interview with Time Magazine, President Trump said, "I'm a very instinctual person, but my instinct turns out to be right." The problem with relying on instinct is that none of us are as good at our instincts as we think we are. It's just a fact. We humans tend to be highly over-confident in our own abilities, and over-confidence leads to big errors in judgment. (Just think, for example, about how many people think they're better-than-average drivers. Half of us aren't.)
Animals have instincts. But since we have the ability to think and reflect, we as humans get the benefit of turning our raw instincts into something much better: Intuition.
Intuition is the product of taking habit, study, experience, and reflection, and tossing them all together until you start to get a sense for the big picture. The President makes a big deal out of not wanting to read a lot or study a lot. That means he's rejecting the tools that could give him a strong sense of intuition and choosing instead to rely on instinct alone. The person who relies on instinct alone -- instead of deliberately cultivating intuition -- puts everyone else around them in danger, especially when high stakes are involved.
I'm not making up my own facts here. Here's a line straight from a story in the Washington Post:
He said in a series of interviews that he does not need to read extensively because he reaches the right decisions "with very little knowledge other than the knowledge I [already] had, plus the words 'common sense,' because I have a lot of common sense and I have a lot of business ability."
Never trust the instincts of someone who doesn't study new information or reflect on when those instincts went wrong. A pilot like Chesley Sullenberger doesn't learn how to land a plane with two dead engines in the Hudson River just on instinct or "common sense". He gets to that level of intuition through decades of practice and study. A leader like Theo Epstein doesn't take the Cubs to a World Series through instincts. He gets there by studying his own past experiences and trying to do better in Chicago than he did in Boston. The Oval Office is a place where every major decision comes with serious consequences -- far more serious than a baseball season, and affecting far more people than in a single airplane.
Instincts are for the minor leagues. The President owes it to us to stop trusting his instincts and start honing his intuition.