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EDITORIAL: ‘Apprentice' President in firing line?

August 20th, 2017 5:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

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GIVEN his love of telling people ‘You're fired,' there are real fears in some quarters that ‘Apprentice' President Donald J Trump could overstep the mark – as he did with his ‘fire and fury' over-reaction to the missile test-firing antics of his North Korean counterpart Kim Jung Un – and be tempted in a fit of pique to press the nuclear button just to tell him ‘You're fried!'

Even saying that in jest, however, might give the US President some dangerous ideas that the world could do without him putting into action. The amount of people that has gone through brief stints serving in various roles – most at quite a senior level – in his administration since he took office seven months ago is quite staggering.

This is having a pronounced effect on the stability and credibility of his presidency and the fact that he cannot seem to sleep for very long and occupies many of his waking hours by sending sometimes off-the-wall tweets detailing random thoughts that are going through his head is deeply worrying – and it has certainly gone well beyond a joke at this stage.

That he had never served in an elected public office before he became President of the United States of America is a huge hindrance as Trump has not got to grips with the extent of the responsibilities that come with it, especially towards the electorate he is meant to represent and serve. He is trying the run the country the same way as he ran his business empire – hiring and firing people on whims, making big money and losing some – which is not how to properly do so as he has a duty of care as president to the American people and he should not be gambling with their lives and livelihoods.

Then there are the clouds that hang over him, such as the federal investigation by former FBI director Robert Mueller into allegations of Russian attempts to influence the 2016 US presidential election, which seems to be concentrating a lot of resources on the Trump campaign team and is trying to ascertain if there are financial links between the Trump family and Russia. Typically, President Trump has dismissed the FBI investigation and parallel  congressional inquiries as a ‘witch hunt' against him, but polls have revealed that the majority of the American people want to see these through in order to establish if there is any evidence of collusion with the Russians.

Politically, things have not been going well for him either with a number of Republican senators scuppering his attempts to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as ‘Obamacare' – which was one of his key election campaign promises – and this despite the fact that his Republican Party has a majority in both houses of the US Congress. President Trump's announcement of the United States' intention to withdraw from the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement has also proven divisive, both within his own country and internationally, while his reluctance to condemn white supermacists did him no favours either.

But, it is the farcical procession of staff through the White House that has attracted the most unwelcome attention and has been the most damning aspect of Trump's time in office so far. The absurd ten-day tenure of Anthony Scaramucci as communications director brought the farcical nature of the staffing merry-go-round to a head and posed the most serious questions so far about the President's choice of staff and his ability to retain them, with his bizarre criticism of the performance of one of his most loyal backers, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, adding to the confusion that he is presiding over.

The recruitment of retired army general John Kelly as the President's chief of staff, after previously serving as his homeland security adviser, may bring some order and stability to the personnel side of things. There is too much leaking of information from the White House and this has to be worrying, not just for Trump, but for the country as a whole, which needs to be seen to be more secure if it is to regain the respect and confidence it had before the current administration took office.

Like it or not – and in spite of the various investigations, political and staffing turmoil going on – Donald Trump is likely to remain as President to the end of his four-year term of office, unless something totally untoward happens, be it by accident or design. The mind boggles at the unnerving unpredictability of it all.

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