When Donald Trump unexpectedly won the US elections late in 2016, I wrote this https://www.thecable.ng/thoughts-american-election-2016.
It was from a deep place. Although I had no direct stake in the election, I couldn’t bring myself to get ready for work that day. When I finally did, it was like a popular Nigerian musician sang – ‘it was a day the devil drank water’. Must be a very rare day as I assume the devil only likes drinking blood.
Apparently Mr. Trump never wanted to and never expected to win the election according to the new book by Michael Wolff. Regardless of his best effort, he won. Despite the wish of many like me, thunder did not strike him before his inauguration. He has now been President for just over a year.
There are rumblings that he will be impeached by the US Lawmakers because he is effectively Vladimir Putin’s vassal and for his attempt to obstruct justice in the claim that Russia influenced the elections that brought him to power.
What I have found amusing and continue to find befuddling is that someone like Trump can become the leader of the free world. It is ok if he is elected in some Africa, Asia or Middle Eastern backwater somewhere. But America. WOW.
It just goes to show that while Democracy might be the best way of selecting leaders at the moment, it is a deeply flawed system otherwise a specimen such as Trump will never occupy even the littlest of pubic office.
Why have I decided to write about him again? A friend kindly gave me a copy of the new book on Trump. Fire and Fury: Inside The Trump White House by Michael Wolff.
If you read the book, you will be ashamed for Americans and at the same time feel pity for them for what they have brought on themselves. I will share some of the things I found fascinating and disgusting in equal measure.
Trump is like a child with a very short attention span or you might think that with his age, he is starting to develop some form of deterioration in his mental capacity. He has a number of billionaires he bounces ideas of with. One of them told the US President’s son – in – law that Trump “takes his ideas for three hours and then goes hopelessly off script” .
Henry Kissinger who was very knowledgeable in the power politics of Washington tried to teach Trump about the limitations of presidential power. ‘Don’t’ piss of the press, don’t piss off your party, don’t threaten congressmen’. What does Trump do? He does exactly the opposite of what he was commended not to do. He poked them like you would stupidly poke a bear.
Trump doesn’t do shame like any normal person. It is almost like his skin is as thick as leather. He defied facts, he ignored them or subverted them and made sure his staff defended him to their own shame. A good example was that of his first press secretary – Sean Spicer who like many in the Trump’s White House have had to quit their jobs within weeks. Spicer became an object of fun while trying to defend Trump’s obvious lies about the crowd at his inauguration. Typical outcome for anybody who dines with the devil I say.
Rupert Murdoch (one of Trump’s billionaire friends) who prided himself on been well acquainted with all American Presidents since Harry Truman tried to impress it on Trump as he did on Obama the importance of using your first six months to make an impact and set the agenda as after this first six month period, it will just be putting out fires and battling the opposition. Murdoch’s advice fell on deaf ears.
Trump has no concept of public service especially from the bureaucracy perspective. He couldn’t understand why anybody will want to work in a government with the low salaries compared with the private sector. It was one of these people who he despised for their air of superiority and possibly for her gender that ensured Michael Flynn (Trump’s first National Security Adviser) was fired.
Trump believed the Obama Administration had left ‘landmines’ for his government on the Russian issue. However Trump did not realize he stupidly stepped on those landmines despite several warnings.
Trump’s volatility alarmed his staff. He had moments of irrationality that stopped his staff approaching him. When he was very angry, his senior staff dealt with the issue by agreeing with everything he said or did.
Trump believes that his support base, which equates roughly to 35% of the electorate will support him no matter what. He believes these ones will let him get away with shooting someone (dead and in public glare) on Fifth Avenue
“Trump lacks the basic understanding of the impact of a president’s words because he wants attention” (like a child). His comments about the mad man in North Korea is a good example.
The Trump White House is something of a circus. Flynn (NSA) was gone within seconds. Preibus (Chief of Staff) was fired by Scaramucci (Director of Communications). When Trump realized there was a looming scandal on Scaramucci’s tax records, the new Chief of Staff, Kelly had to fire Scaramucci. If you have read the news in the last few days, you will realize that Trump is about to let Kelly go. I wont be surprised if Hope Hicks (Presidential Aide in charge of Newspaper cuttings) is asked to fire General Kelly. If you think appointment of top government officials in Nigeria is clannish, you haven’t seen the way the Trump White House appoint staff. At the moment, things are so bad that Trump White House is finding it difficult to find anyone of stature to replace departed senior people. Also the reason why Trump hasn’t accepted Jeff Sessions’ resignation that he requested and Session gave him is because Trump knows that Congress will never approve his choice of Chris Christie or Rudy Guillani as Attorney General.
Trump is notorious for his inability to see a course through. He was warned not to fire Comey (another one who dined with the Devil and lost his livelihood) but he did. He has considered firing Special Counsel Mueller and there are indications this will be curtains for him if he does actually fire Mueller.
Trump is so petty that nobody is allowed to get the credit for anything associated with him. His strategist Bannon was fired for the credit he received for Trump winning the election. Kelly will soon be fired for claiming he is the one that has brought some order into the Trump White House
The President’s daughter and her husband have a huge say in the appointment of key senior staff and in formulating government policy. How can this happen in a so – called democracy? How can unelected / un – appointed people have a say in molding government policy at the highest level?
There are assumptions that Trump is racist. He might not be to the extent that he is going to shoot a black man or make him his slave. He however harbors deep sympathies for white supremacists. The book details the events leading to the riots in Virginia. He initially made a crass comment, when there was an uproar and many demanded for a Presidential comment, he stayed on message at the Press Conference for minutes only to reveal his inner convictions. He blamed all parties and doubled down on his senseless stance. According to the book, ‘it was yet one more example, among his many (moments) of absurd, movie like politician who just says whatever is on his mind. Unmediated. Crazylike’.
There are claims in the book that Trump is like a 9 year old and wants to be liked.
His outburst about Colin Kapernick taking the knee was to divert the attention away from the fact that he was having a nightmare of a campaign speech for Luther Strange’s failed attempt to get the Republican ticket for the Senate seat in Alabama.
Not one senior member of the Trump White House believes they can make his administration functional. Some have decided to stay to prevent worse calamities from happening. Many believe at best, it will be a one-term presidency.
Clearly the above makes you wonder how any functional country let alone the leading country in the free world got here.
Democracy is WEIRD.
Baba Grumpy works in financial services in the United Kingdom. He blogs mostly about football at http://babagrumpy.blogspot.co.uk. His Twitter handle is @BabaGrumpy