THIS weekend last year, as Donald J Trump was inaugurated as President of the United States of America, we feared the worst, but wrote that he must be given a chance to prove himself. One year on, he has failed to confound his critics and, if anything, has given them even more ammunition to attack him with.
By conducting so much of his public monologue – he doesn’t do dialogue – on social media, he is undermining diplomacy and, while a lot of his knee-jerk utterances may maintain some of the populist appeal he yearns for, and seems to thrive on, he is only preaching to the converted. All the while, however, Trump has been alienating quite a few of his former allies by firing them on a whim, à la The Apprentice, and this has been coming back to bite him, politically, especially with the publication of Michael Wolff’s controversial Fire and Fury book about what, allegedly, goes on inside the White House – although the veracity of certain sections of it is questionable.
Ironically, Trump’s tweets condemning the book had the opposite of the effect he intended by boosting its sales as members of the American public at last begin to ask themselves: what have we done here? By doing the equivalent of pouring petrol on a fire, he has shown that he is not a real politician and, if he were to do the same in an international conflict, it could lead to serious consequences – not only for the people of the United States, but for other countries that could suffer collateral damage.
The President runs the White House in the gung-ho way he drove his business empire over the years in a very egocentric manner and god help anyone who gets in the way of this. What he seems to lack is any true set of values, because nobody seems to know what he really stands for apart from self-gratification and glorification; it’s all about The Donald!
A lot of what he has been doing since taking office a year ago has been negative by trying to dismantle initiatives like Obamacare and the Paris Climate Change Accord, mostly because he doesn’t like them himself. He had to row back on some of his early efforts to limit immigration by imposing punitive restrictions on people from certain Muslim countries, which were successfully overturned by the courts.
While he set about cutting the rate of US corporation tax, there has been little else positive done by him to ‘make America great again,’ as he promised he would do during the 2016 presidential campaign. He is still talking the talk in that regard, but not pro-actively walking the walk and he has already suffered a number of political setbacks with some high-profile Republican losses to the Democrats.
The cloud hanging over his administration caused by the ongoing investigation into alleged Russian collusion with the Trump presidential campaign team continues to be a blight and, if the allegations are proven to be true, it could seriously undermine his presidency. How many more would he have left to fire in such an eventuality?
The only luck he has on the political front is that neither the Democrats or any other party have come up with a credible candidate to take him on when he will inevitably try for re-election in 2020 – if he is still there! There were suggestions that Michelle Obama should challenge him, but she seems to have more sense! Then we had that fine speech by Oprah Winfrey at this month’s Golden Globe Awards that prompted speculation that she might be lining up an attempt to run for the presidency.
Certainly, there will be interesting times ahead, but in the meantime, President Trump – in trampling all over political sensitivities by announcing the move of his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem – has effectively ended US credibility as an honest broker in trying to bring peace to the Middle East, which has been made more difficult by the current unrest in Iran. His vulgar and disparaging description of Haiti and African nations has done him no favours either.
In exchanges with Kim Jong-un in which Trump boasted that he had a bigger nuclear button than the North Korean dictator are so juvenile that we all should be seriously worried about the mindset, credibility and stability of the leader of one of the world’s most powerful countries. As long as he remains in office, the world will be uncomfortably on tenterhooks over what he might do next.