Will the real Donald Trump please stand up
During this transitional period, a President-Elect sometimes can exhibit great differences from the persona that he projected during the campaign season. In the case of Donald J. Trump, the possible future governing Trump is likely far afield from the ranting rightist, who spent 18 months spouting recurring rancorous themes that now seem to be less utilitarian to the Donald’s current objectives.
The old political adages “Say anything to get elected” or “You campaign in poetry, you govern in prose” seems to be applicable to the extent that the Donald’s uproarious stump messages were emotion evoking and ignited robust followers. However, considering his recent revealing in-depth interview with the New York Times, his prepared statements delivered on social media and You Tube, one can easily see that Trump is not an ideologue who will vehemently pursue his past outrageous assertions expounded on the campaign trail. In reality, he is a pragmatist who will preserve some themes, but will moreover find a path of compromise that is based upon practicality more so than political conviction.
Once stalwart proclamations have now been pared down to positions that are more malleable. Trump’s standpoints on the Affordable Care Act, prosecuting Hillary Clinton in regard to the email scandal and the suspicious acts of collusion (specific to the Clinton Global Initiative and Clinton Foundation) during Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State, global warming and climate change policy, illegal immigration and the proposed Mexican border wall, the separation of the President-Elect’s business interests and the administration of government, enhanced interrogation techniques, and the rollback of President Obama’s executive orders, have all been altered at least in tone if not in future practice dramatically.
Obviously, we will not truly know what kind of president Donald will be until he takes the oath next January. But, to those who perceived him as a reckless loose cannon who if elected would endanger the country and the world as soon as he received the nuclear launch codes, those fatalists may be happily surprised at his previously undiscovered reserve and cautiousness.
Most glaring in Trump’s apparent reversals is his comments in reference to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). After a meeting with Barack Obama which ran 90 minutes even though it was scheduled for a mere 15 minutes. The once leader of the “Birther Movement” which was a activist group of people who doubted where Obama was born, the Donald came away from his first transition meeting with a increased degree of respect for the president.
Upon hearing the current president’s counsel, Trump said that he would rethink his stated position on the ACA. He said that he would seek to preserve the up to 26 year olds recipient’s coverage on their parent’s plan clause and would seek to retain the existing condition eligibility clause. Further, Trump has consulted with President Obama in two following phone calls. As a result, Trump has remarked positively on the efficiency and sincerity displayed by Obama. These appreciative and glowing statements are the diametric opposite of virtually all his comments about the sitting president to date before the transition period commenced.
Similarly, during Trump’s campaign rallies chants of “Lock Her Up” coupled with Trump’s promise during one of the debates to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the Clintons in all their involvements have all been laid waste by the roadside. Trump has advocated adversaries leaving the Clintons alone and letting them “live in peace”. Perhaps this gesture is an accommodation in appreciation of Clinton’s relatively quick concession in an election where she will yield two million more popular votes. Perhaps his actions are an effort to push animosity behind him to develop a more conciliatory attitude among the two major political parties. Whatever his motivation, zealot supporters whose stridency against Hillary was demonstrated time and time again during the campaign season must be disappointed now.
Not dissimilar is Trump’s 180 degree turn in regard to global warming and climate change. Previously, the Donald has denied climate change and said repeatedly that it was a hoax that was perpetrated by the Chinese. Now he has said that he has an “open mind” about the issue. Before, he had vowed he would extract America from the Paris Climate Change Accords agreement, but recently stated he was no longer certain.
The first cornerstone of Trump’s early campaigning was the herald’s cry of “Build the Wall.” Of course, this thematic call to action was in reference to the idea of building a two thousand mile wall along the Mexico/United States border. Then, somehow, make the Mexican government pay for the multi-billion dollar effort, but now his mind has changed. Instead, Trump is presently mute about the mythical wall and is now talking about a drastic revision in immigration law as the initial priority regarding illegal immigrants.
During the presidential primaries, Trump was challenged about what his intentions were regarding the separation of his business interests and the interests of the nation. Trump said he thought he might have to establish a blind trust or maybe he could totally cede his power and involvement to his adult children regarding his varied business concerns.
Trump recently stated the following as if it were a welcome revelation: “I assumed you’d have to setup some sort of trust, but you don’t” and “I could run my business perfectly while running the country perfectly”.
That statement is Pollyanna. Apparently, the President-Elect does not yet fully appreciate the extraordinary burdens of the presidency. He will be busier with affairs of state than he thinks unless he intends to relegate himself and delegate most of his duties to the vice-president and the chief of staff and the cabinet.
Forebodingly, the probability of conflict of interests between the administration of government and the simultaneous operation of Trump’s international business concerns are great indeed.
In a similar change of direction, after Trump’s meeting with Secretary of Defense Candidate General “Mad Dog” Mattis, the President-Elect changed his campaign promise that he would restore enhanced interrogation techniques when dealing with potential terrorists/combatants. The General had informed Trump that he believed “water-boarding” to be ineffective. “I never found it to be useful” said Mattis. Trump followed with an explanation of his change of heart quoting the sentiments of the prospective secretary, “He actually said: no give me some cigarettes and some drinks, and we’ll do better.”
This about-face is maybe the best example of the difference of the campaign Trump and President-Elect Trump. Trump is not intractable and he can be dissuaded from the outrageous and persuaded to listen to reason.
Another theme during the campaign was the promise that Trump would rescind all of President Obama’s executive orders on day one of his presidency. Upon further reflection, Trump now says he will not strike down the orders on mass, but instead will contemplatively examine them one by one when in office.
To some of the most strident supporters, they must feel betrayed by Donald Trump. However, I choose to view these changes in policy and attitude as hopeful. Previously, I was wary of the dangerous inflammatory rhetoric that Trump built his stunning victory on. If he were to indeed enact his extremist propositions that were shouted on the stump, our nation would suffer.
On the contrary, the new improved President-elect Donald Trump seems more reasonable and more pliable to listening to qualified advice. Of course, the proof will out in the acts of his administration. For the sake of our country’s future, one can hope and pray that prudence will prevail over outlandishness and pettiness!
In the old game show “To Tell the Truth,” the reveal would happen when the host would say “Would the real whomever please stand up” thus exposing the imposters. Hopefully, the real, sensible and more understanding Donald Trump is revealing himself now and the previous one during the campaign was just an imposter.