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Decoding Trump

Decoding Trump
How do you solve a problem like Donald Trump? To many, including some even in his Cabinet, this would seem to be the proverbial million dollar question. But, just as he loves to boast, "This is a first in US history," every time he signs an executive order, he is unlike any President since George Washington himself. Indications were there during his 2016 campaign of how erratic, inconsistent, irresponsible and vindictive he could be in the statements he made to his audiences. For the major part of the campaign, he was the underdog in opinion polls. But that did not deter him from making tall and unconventional promises to the sort of fans who lapped up all that came to them. He also broke from tradition by condemning countries like China, Mexico and North Korea, among others. The condemnation came in a language that left his speechwriters stumped. The media was not spared. He coined a new phrase by branding them as "fake" simply because they reported on his unusual methods of conducting himself in public. It is, of course, another story that American elections are a different cup of tea when it comes to declaring the victor. He lost to his opponent by over three million "popular" votes but triumphed by the Electoral College system. The other disconcerting factor in this coast to coast election is the fact that since the election of Dwight Eisenhower, after the Second World War, a little more than 45 per cent of the electorate has chosen to stay away. Their absence does make a significant difference. It certainly did during the Trump victory. Did his win make a difference in his ways as an 'elected' President? By no means. He continued from where he left with a vengeance. Some features were added to his style. As some senators from both sides of the aisle chose to put it, his behaviour was like that of "a middle schooler". His latest outburst to his North Korean counterpart that his nuclear button "is bigger and more powerful" is a case in point; and, this when the North Korean dictator asked for the hotline with South Korea to be activated. This, ironically, was what the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, had been working for, to open a channel for negotiations. Trump had tweeted, "You are wasting your time, Rex!" That implied that his original threat of annihilating North Korea was the only option left. How could he forget what one of his great predecessors, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, had once said, "Never fear to negotiate but never negotiate out of fear"? During the campaign, by his own admission, his daughter had asked him to be more "Presidential". Even today, when he sits in the Oval Office, he is anything but "Presidential". In the one year that he has been President, he has done plenty that he should never have stepped upon. Relations with old US allies have come under strain, Washington does not seem to be as committed to the NATO as it had been since it was set up. Relations with even the most trusted and special ally, Britain, is under the scanner. Both Conservative and Labour parliamentarians do not, in the least, seem eager to have him pay the scheduled State visit later this year. Trade relations have already been affected. His first New Year tweet to Pakistan ought to be lauded, true, but he had been talking about this for quite some time. As far as his decision on recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is concerned, it has not gone down well with most member states of the United Nations. On the home front, he has not merely threatened but also has made no secret of the fact that he wants many immigrants out. These include even those that had come as infants with their parents. Called 'Dreamers', these immigrants, who are all grown assets in their own right to the US, have managed to get through to the President. A representation of theirs had detailed talks with him at the Trump Towers in New York and he was reported to be very happy with them. And, now, comes the bombshell that they could be deported soon. A large chunk of the 'Dreamers' comprise of brilliant minds of Indian origin. Such doublespeak has its own negative manifestations. Much like the condemnable statements he had made on women and their genitalia in a video recording during the campaign. 13 women have, since, come out with accusations that they had all been sexually assaulted by him, some time or another. Predictably, he has denied the allegations. But, at a time when everyone accused of sexual harassment is being punished, getting hauled up or even losing elections, such allegations assume alarming proportions. At a time when peace is at a premium the world over, Trump has been raving and ranting with a threat thrown in occasionally. As "the leader of the free world", he certainly could do better. Irrespective of what eventually surfaces from the Mueller investigations into the alleged 'collusion' of the Trump transition team with the Russians, President Trump must try and prevail not just as a good and fair leader of his people, but one that others in the 'free world' can look up to.
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