EDITORIAL: First 100 days of Trump

April 30th, 2017 5:00 PM

By Southern Star Team

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WHAT a rollercoaster US President Donald Trump’s first 100 days in office has been – and scary, too, as the world fears what he’ll do next as he lurches from one quick-fix about-turn to the next and fires or demotes staff as if he was still on the TV reality show that made him famous. A lot of the populist rhetoric he blurted out on the campaign trail last year has been tempered by the real world he now finds himself trying to cope with.

However, the stakes are huge, not just for a man getting to grips with serving in the first political office he was ever elected to, but for the people of the United States of America and further afield who will be affected by the decisions he makes. His propensity for labelling everything negative that’s written or said about him in the media as ‘fake news’ is wearing a bit thin now and certainly not a robust defence mechanism for the person charged with leading the so-called free world.

That the media is turning on Trump is no surprise given the manner in which he has constantly tried to denigrate journalistic work that is a vital part of a free democracy and which is enshrined in the First Amendment of the American Constitution, which the President is sworn to uphold. Their main complaint is that Trump’s greatest obsession – himself basically – is at odds with the realities of the world that should be occupying the President of the United States of America and leading to fears of the damage his presidency could do to the country.

When he took office in January, we wrote here that he should be given a chance to prove himself worthy of the job. What a leader does in his/her first 100 days in office sets the tone for their presidency and what we have seen and heard during this time in his case does not inspire confidence that Donald Trump is up to the job.

The early weeks of Trump’s presidency were marked by ill thought-out executive orders on restricting immigration to the US being overturned by various courts on whom he poured scorn because the judges disagreed with him. 

Earlier this month, his about-turn on Syria and President Bashar al-Assad led him to order US bombings against government targets there in reprisal for chemical weapon attacks, which has put him in conflict with Assad’s main cheerleader, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was until recently Trump’s new best friend! His recent dealings with the Chinese on trade and their relationship with North Korea seemed like he was making it up as he went along.

Foreign policy is a serious matter that needs consistency and Trump’s unpredictable nature is an obstacle to this, as he is likely to change relationships on a whim to suit his own ego. It makes it very difficult for countries who deal with the United States to know exactly where they stand and his knee-jerk use of social media, albeit not as prevalent now as it was at the start, has not helped either.

He has not exhibited much in the way of the statesmanlike qualities that one would associate with a world leader. Indeed, his demeanour when making speeches does not reassure those who put him into office as the great white hope that was going to make America great again, so it is little wonder that his approval ratings in opinion polls since taking office have been the lowest for any incumbent since they began taking them.

With potential flashpoints in Syria and North Korea a reality, Trump is likely to be forced to resume the role of the United States as a sort of world police force. This was something he promised his supporters during the presidential election campaign last year that he would not be doing, when he made friendly overtures towards Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, who most people in the west do not trust and is a far more clever politician than Trump, but these have been rebuffed since the US bombing in Syria.

A lot of the other promises he made on the campaign trail have not been fulfilled and one wonders how long those who voted him in with a view to making America great again will be prepared to stand by him. Even senior members of his own Republican Party have serious reservations about his style of presidency and must wonder if there is any substance to it.

Donald Trump is coming across more like the billionaire businessman he is, content to dabble in his new hobby, politics, and seeming to have forgotten about a lot of the people who voted for him. His lack of gravitas and political nous do not inspire confidence in his ability to get to grips with the mammoth task he has taken on.

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