Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Donald Trump: One Week as Preisdent-Elect

It has been just over one week since billionaire Donald Trump defied the pollsters and surprised the media by getting elected as the next President of the United States. Donald Trump has, unsurprisingly, had a very busy week and voters have been given some more clues as to what exactly the Trump presidency will look like.

Anti-Trump protesters have taken to the streets of US cities over the last week to voice their opposition to Trump’s callous rhetoric. Trump responded to these protests on Twitter, initially calling the protesters “unfair”. However, he later tweeted: “Love the fact that … protesters … have passion for our great country. We will all come together and be proud!” The second tweet probably came following a gentle reminder from the White House or a member of his staff that the campaign is over now and he needs to unite the country. I suspect the public will begin to see a reserved and less impulsive Trump more frequently now he is President.

Trump has been appointing Republicans to key positions in his cabinet this week. So far we know that Reince Priebus is going to be Trump’s Chief of staff and Steve Bannon is going to be Chief strategist. Priebus used to be Chairman of the Republican National Committee and is known to be close with House Speaker Paul Ryan. Bannon is an ex-Goldman Sachs financier and has already sparked controversy due to his position as executive chairman of an alt-right news website which opposes immigration and cultural diversity. So far these appointments lack relevant White House experience therefore it will be interesting to see if they even last in their current positions.

Already, the Office of the President-Elect has began the transition from Obama’s administration to Trump’s. Obama met Trump on Thursday and the Wall Street Journal has since reported that during the meeting Trump expressed his surprise at the scope of the duties. They also reported that many Trump aides were "unaware that the entire presidential staff working in the West Wing had to be replaced at the end of Mr. Obama’s term”.

Trump also began making phone calls and meeting with senior international politicians. British Prime Minister Theresa May was the 10th world leader that Trump contacted causing many to speculate on the state of the "special relationship". Though, Trump apparently told May the UK was a "very, very special place for me and for our country." Trump seemed to be more interested in another British politician this week though: Nigel Farage. They were pictured together in a gold-plated elevator having campaigned together last month. Is Farage expecting a new job working closely with President-elect Trump?

Trump did his first television interview since the election result with CBS’s '60 Minutes'. He admitted he had no regrets regarding anything he said on the campaign however it became clear that many of the things he said on the campaign weren’t to be taken literally. Furthermore, following a meeting with Paul Ryan, he stated that issues which were going to be addressed on the first day in office include healthcare and immigration.

This first week has been extremely telling and already we are seeing Trump appear more presidential. I think Trump will quickly discover how difficult the job is and that he is in fact no better than any regular Republican politician. His ambitions for “better healthcare for less money” and to destroy ISIS will prove to be far easier said than done (duh!). Also, his temperament which was very public during the campaign will be made private and his use of social media will decrease. Donald Trump will never be a stereotypical statesman like any other US Presidents in modern history (especially since his anti-establishment rhetoric is part of his appeal) but it will be interesting to see how close to that he is willing to go.