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President Trump – the first 20 days

This article is drawn from the many Tweets @20ccnorman that I have made on this topic.

 

 

Many of us witnessed either from afar or more domestically the rise of Donald J Trump.  We saw the huge field of 17 Republicans, of sometimes well qualified candidates, shrink to just one.  Who was the rudest, most abrasive of the candidates.  The least qualified in many eyes as he had not held elective office or a senior military rank.  One has to ask - why?

Large numbers of Americans are sick of Washington.  It did little but blocking on a partisan basis, blocking Obama many times so that he was forced to govern by decree.  Executive Order it is politely called.  Exactly as Trump is doing to reverse much of what Obama did do.  One thing was that Trump is not is a Washington fan, until January 20 at least.  He termed Washington as a swamp.

His premier slogan was “Make America Great Again”.  Some Americans fear that the US is losing respect through Trump. I suggest that the respect was lost by his nomination and then his election.  Really were scandal tarnished Hillary and Donald the best two candidates able to be found in this talented nation.

But he stimulated politics in many not previously prone to getting involved, just as Sanders did for the Democrats and perhaps Brexit did in the UK.  With France and Germany fearful that whatever it is “is catching” and will show up again in their elections later this year.

His Executive Orders are reminiscent of a medieval monarch not constrained by advice of those who perhaps know better.  The “ban Visitors from Muslim Countries” was the most extreme in its application with a 5 year old boy handcuffed and separated from his parents for 5 hours at Washington Airport.  The ultra-abrasive President’s Press Secretary defended this as “no-one can be dismissed as a terrorist because of age”.  He also denied it was a “ban” even though both he and the President had used that word on TV.  Some of the detained had green cards and/or US passports, but the banned countries figured in their heritage.  It was clumsily applied and was perhaps largely responsible for 900 State Department using their “dissent facility”.  This allows them to voice concern.  They were already smarting over the sacking of 4 of their senior leaders.  We in the UK are not used to such politicisation of the Civil Service.

One hope as his Cabinet picks scrape through the vetting of the Senate will moderate the actions actually taken.  There are grounds for hope here as the use of torture has been passed to the Secretary of Defense, who is not convinced it is a good thing.  Also the Energy Secretary recognises that Climate Change is taking place.  The Senate looks like rejecting the possible Education Secretary who defended allowing guns in schools.  Cabinets in the USA are not politicians, but are vetted by the 100 person Senate.  Trump is about to lead an experiment in Government.  A Government of billionaires with no political experience.

Some good news, as Cabinet members get confirmed, the professionals may be gaining influence on Trump’s policies.  Backing off support of more Israeli settlements, the comments on the Ukraine made at the UN and no further moves on the alleged massive voter fraud.  The rescinded visas appear to be being reinstated, but once again the reverse of policy is shrouded in confusion.

An area where no moderation of view is likely is abortion.  Here it is not a ban, but the withdrawal of any state financial or other support.  Regrettably this Pro-Life move this could encourage fanatics to take life threatening steps against doctors who provide these services and drive some desperate women to unsafe, underground practices.

On the economy I see trouble in the future.  Trump wishes to bring back jobs to the USA.  The jobs have gone to countries where the labour is cheaper.  All developed countries have face this.  No doubt he can bully companies into bringing the work back, but almost by definition the products cannot be made cheaper, Americans will pay more, thus inflation.  It similarly applies to the mantra “we shall build a wall”.  Initially the US taxpayers will pay for it.  But they will get the money back into the state coffers by a levy on all imported goods.  However the goods will be more expensive – inflation again.  In addition the Mexican jobless will be even more desperate to “climb the wall”. 

Overall the pattern is becoming the same in the UK & US. Judges hold the Executive within the law and are called “ridiculous” and “unpatriotic”.

 

To Be Continued