20 Nov 2016

A week of Trump

One week of preparation on – Donald Trump is revealing himself as more “Campaign Trump” than healing, “Presidential Trump”. The only vaguely “healing” appointment he’s come up with is that of Reince Priebus, Chair of the Republican National Committee. The rest are discarded right wing Republican re-treads of old – some previously discarded for their statements on race, or their incompetence.

It is far from certain that he’s going to carry support in Congress quite the way some commentators suggest. There is still a queasiness amongst some of the more establishment Republicans, although some, like Mitt Romney appear to be either going through some sort of Damascene conversion, or perhaps think they can moderate him from the inside.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence depart the main clubhouse at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, U.S., November 19, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar - RTSSFRQ

 

The other issue is Trump’s personality. He is reliably reported to be unhappy being left on his own. At all times he is either surrounded by his family, principally his daughter Ivanka and her husband, as we saw in his first meeting with a foreign dignitary – Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe. And if it is not the family around him, he is reportedly otherwise surrounded by his court of ideological soul mates. Then there is his attention span – said to be fifteen minutes at any one time.

Finally, there is his preparedness to do the actual job effectively. The idea that he may go on living in Trump Tower in New York City, and helicopter down to Washington when his attendance at the White House is required, seems farcical and, if it ever really comes to pass, will also surely offend many Americans who don’t want to see the tradition of their President living in the White House broken. It could also be seen to imply that he may leave many decisions to his team, despite traditionally running his own business by wielding very considerable personal power.

Trump’s Twitter feed remains a curious insight into the man. Saturday produced a petulant call for the New York theatre to apologise for the booing of VICE President Pence who was in the audience. Mr Trump is surely going to have to thicken his skin.

There is no question but that the anxiety about Donald Trump, both inside the United States, and this side of the Atlantic, is not dissipating. His team appointments thus-far have in no way reduced the feeling of unease. It would seem to many to be a tricky moment for the UK to be casting adrift from a power bloc it has been in for four decades and which might provide some kind of bulwark against turbulent times.

If it’s true that Brexit is proving so complex to sort, then the estimates of perhaps six months before we are ready to start the process proper, could coincide with the first taste of Donald Trump in power leaving the UK a moment to review its situation. If, as seems very possible, Donald Trump is serious about questioning Nato, reducing forces abroad and charging more for those that remain, new questions will arise as to how the order which has kept the peace in the western world for 70 years is to be defended.

Many are questioning whether now really is a moment not to be attending European Ministerial summits at which these issues are going to be discussed.

Mrs. May promised that until we leave the EU, we shall remain fully engaged. At this juncture many are hoping that we do. If Britain’s national security comes into question, people will look very seriously at where Brexit is taking the United Kingdom.

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