There is only one Donald Trump

Knapps

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24, Jan 2017

Most US Presidents thank their predecessors and talk of the glory of America during the inaugural address. Donald John Trump talked about the ‘trillions and trillions’ of wasted dollars, the ‘millions and millions’ of unemployed Americans and ‘American carnage’ in his ‘America First’ speech. Those who claimed that there are “two Trumps” can eat their words now. Donald Trump talks what he talks. And he is now doing what he talked about.

What has unraveled since January 20?

January 20 was the biggest day of Trump’s life. He was inaugurated as President of the United States.

Donald Trump entered the White House on Friday just as he entered the race for president:rebellious, frank, unbound by precedents, unafraid of the stage and supremely confident in his chosen course. And yes, he is still anti-establishment, even when he has become the establishment.

“We ask that you give him [The new President] the meekness of Christ.”

  • After the usual invocations to God and reading of passages from the Bible, Vice President Michael Richard "Mike" Pence was sworn in.
  • Thereafter, Donald Trump recited the oath of office on President Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration Bible, as well as the Bible the new president’s mother gave to him at his Sunday school graduation in 1955. US chief justice John Roberts administered the oath of office.
  • America’s 45th president then delivered his inaugural address. The speech lasted less than 20 minutes but left quite an impact.

It was then time for ex-President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, to bid the final goodbye. They boarded a helicopter to visit their house of 8 years - the one which is always painted white - one last time. An emotional farewell by the staff awaited them. Obama started his speech on a humorous note, “Michelle and I have been milking this goodbye thing recently; so I will keep my speech short…” His audience protested. They wanted him to speak more - this was the last time they were hearing him. Even as Obama had started delivering his final speech to his staff, attention shifted to Trump, who was signing his first executive orders. A lunch, attended by all leading Congressional leaders, followed.

  • The inaugural parade for Trump followed the lunch, when the new President and Vice President of the United States travelled 2.4 kilometres along Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House, past a high-end new hotel bearing the Trump name.
  • Trump was followed by 8000 people from US military branches, high school and university marching bands, equestrian corps, first responders, veteran groups and a tractor brigade. He was greeted at the White House’s South Portico by Chief Usher Reid, with the words:“Welcome to your new home, Mr. President.”
  • After freshening up, the Trumps and the Pences appeared at three official inaugural balls, while other semi-official and unofficial balls took place throughout the city, including one in the hotel that bears Trump’s name.

Then on, Trump has hit the ground running. He is determined to prove that he will bring his ruthless business efficiency to the office while fulfilling his promises.

  • First order: Right after being sworn in, he issued an executive order aimed at rolling back former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. The exact roll back will be subject to Congressional approval; this move was largely symbolic - his declaration of intent.
  • He has ordered agencies to freeze new regulations, giving the new administration time to review them.
  • He met with the CIA, where he addressed employees. Trump also took over the nuclear codes. He expressed regret for not taking over Iraq’s oil (after winning the war) and telling the CIA, “We should have kept the oil. Maybe we’ll have another chance.”
  • He announced he has meetings with leaders in Mexico and Canada to begin re-negotiating NAFTA.Trump had repeatedly called NAFTA the worst negotiated trade deal of the United States.
  • He even got into micromanagement. He asked the National Park Service not to tweet after it retweeted side-by-side images showing the crowd at former President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration and Trump’s inauguration. His Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, called the first media briefing to declare that the crowds at Donald Trump’s inauguration were the biggest ever.
  • He began discussions about moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This is a symbolic endorsement of the ‘one state’ solution - that Jerusalem belongs to Israel.
  • He issued executive orders cancelling US’ participation in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). A treaty that was negotiated by Barrack Obama over 7 years was gone within minutes.

Why was this not your ordinary inaugural speech?

It would have taken real courage for ex-Presidents Obama, Bush, Clinton and Carter to sit and listen to the new President pronounce all their collective work counter-productive for America. Twenty minutes of Trump, and Barack Obama’s airborne departure from Capitol Hill had shades of the last American chopper out of Vietnam.

It is customary for all US Presidents to send out messages of the eternal greatness of their nation and praise all their predecessors, especially the most recent one, in their first speech. Most new Presidents get overwhelmed by the greatness of the occasion.But Donald J Trump is not your ordinary president; just like he was not your ordinary candidate for President. He was thankful, but mostly to those who chose him - a rank outsider - for the top American job.

“Today, we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the people,” the anti-establishment President declared.

  • Trump said there had been hardly anything for ordinary Americans to celebrate over the past many years, while politicians continued to prosper. He intends to change that. He wants the world to “buy American and hire American”.

The critics found the tone of Trump’s address as negative. His supporters called it realistic.

  • He spoke of “mothers and children” trapped in poverty and “rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation.”
  • He said the education system leaves “our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge,” and told Americans “this carnage stops right here and stops right now.”

‘America First’ would be an apt title for this speech.

  • Instead of bringing the characteristic American message of inclusiveness and diversity to the world, as Obama spoke of during his first inauguration, Trump said every decision he takes will be to benefit Americans and “only Americans”.
  • Trump mentioned strengthening America’s borders three times in his speech. This, paired with Trump’s constant talk during the campaign about deporting millions of undocumented immigrants, sounds menacing for the illegal migrants.
  • He even named the phenomenon world business leaders fear he will unleash.“Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength,” he said.
  • “I will fight for you with every breath in my body and I will never, ever let you down.” The way he said it, it appeared he meant it. We can call it - Donald Trump will create manufacturing jobs in the United States; he will find a way to do it - even if it means offering excessive tax concessions to American manufacturing giants.

It was not that he did not talk inclusivity. He just connected it to patriotism.

  • “It’s time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget, that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.”

He ended his speech by reaffirming “we will make American great again”.

Trump does not come from the same planet where the previous Presidents had descended from. After Trump’s victory, Obama had told reporters that Presidency will ‘change’ Donald Trump. At the moment, it seems Trump will change the meaning of Presidency.

When did the new administration give Britain a reason to be hopeful?

"I’m a big fan of the UK, we’re gonna work very hard to get it done quickly and done properly. Good for both sides. I will be meeting with [Theresa May] — in fact if you want you can see the letter, wherever the letter is, she just sent it. She’s requesting a meeting and we’ll have a meeting right after I get into the White House and . . . we’re gonna get something done very quickly."

British Prime Minister Theresa May is in a rather tricky situation. As a woman, there is pressure on her to “confront” the sexism of Trump when she meets this “alpha male”.

  • May has been repeatedly pressed about whether she would challenge the US president about sexism after up to 2 million people joined women’s marches around the world after Trump’s inauguration to protest against him. More than 80,000 people gathered in London.

However, as the leader of a nation that has voted itself out of the European Union and faces an uncertain economic future, she knows exactly what to do - and exactly what to not say.

  • May will travel this week to meet Donald Trump for talks about NATO, post-Brexit trade and fighting terrorism, but indicated she would not raise his comments about women despite branding them as unacceptable.
  • “When I sit down, I think the biggest statement that will be made about the role of women is that I will be there as a female prime minister, directly talking to him about the interests we share”, she said in a BBC interview.

The Prime Minister will on Friday become the first foreign leader to hold talks with the new President in the White House following assurances by Mr Trump’s team that he wants to do a “major free trade deal” with Britain that can be announced in the weeks after Brexit.

  • Trump critics claim that it is next to impossible to get a ‘quick’ trade deal with any nation - and Britain is notorious for slow decision making (even Brexit will take more than two years).
  • Trump may want to show off his negotiation skills and announce a deal “within weeks”. That plays well into the hands of Theresa May, who wants to establish credibility back home.

Make no mistake about who is more desperate to get a trade deal.

  • Theresa May is enthusiastic about the prospects of a deal, despite warnings from Labour about the dangers of different environmental and food safety standards as well as the potential for US companies to run parts of the National Health Service (NHS).
  • Getting a written promise of a deal with the US would boost May’s negotiating position with the European Union, which has so far taken the stand that UK will not have the best of both worlds (getting the benefits of free trade while opting out of EU). Trump, the author of ‘The Art of the Deal’ may exploit May’s desperation to his advantage.

Note: There are around 230,000 people born in North America aged between 16 and 64 living in Britain. The British population in the USA has been estimated at 700,000.

Where is the biggest challenge for Trump?

Donald Trump won because nobody thought he could. The trick in winning an election is to get the undecided people to vote for you. Trump, in a weird way, profited from the perception that he couldn’t possibly win. He was the underdog. People love underdogs. Many supporters of Hillary Clinton did not turn up to vote because they thought she was going to win anyway.

  • Trump won 46 percent of the popular vote on the way to victory — a victory driven by capturing the electoral votes of seven states in which he failed to capture a majority of the vote: Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Arizona, and Utah.
  • Trump won 304 electoral votes, easily surpassing the 270 needed to win the White House. However, Clinton secured nearly three million more individual votes than Trump to win the popular vote.

Trump is the President 54 percent Americans did not vote for.

  • His first ratings are already out.Only 45% of Americans approve of Trump's job performance over the first three days of his presidency, according to a Gallup survey.
  • It's the first time a president has received an initial approval rating under 50% in the history of the poll, which dates back to Dwight Eisenhower's first term in 1953.

Those who once took Trump lightly are not willing to take more chances. Trump will be held accountable for every action - every Tweet - from now on.

According to the New York Times, crowd counting experts estimated the Women’s march in Washington to be roughly three times the size of the audience at President Trump’s inauguration. This has been disputed by the Trump administration.

  • It is undeniable, however, that in 60 countries, protesters took to the streets to march against President Donald Trump as part of the Women’s Marches.
  • In London, close to 80,000 people marched, holding signs such as “p\ssy grabs back”, “dump Trump”, and even, for some inexplicable reason, “free Melania (his wife).”*
  • The women are also angry because Trump has made it clear he is anti-abortion and issued orders to stop government funding of organizations that support abortions.

The protestors got it wrong too. Star anti-Trump celebrity campaigner Madonna used the F-word three times, prompting some television networks to abruptly stop filming their live feeds of the protest and apologize to the viewers. She also spoke about “blowing up the White House” literally. And she was protesting Trump’s history of violence.

Who are having a field day?

There are solemn predictions and enough hints that - whether or not it makes America great again - Trump’s Presidency can unleash the golden age of satire.

Saturday Night Live (SNL), the television centerpiece of the American satirical world, came out with a hilarious satire on how vulnerable Trump may be to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s blackmail.

  • A topless muscular reporter resembling Putin introduces himself (in a thick Russian accent) as the CNN's Wolf Blitzer, and asks "Trump" (played by Alec Baldwin) if he is sure Russia is behind hacking.
  • When "Trump" starts to say ‘yes’, the Russian reporter holds up a "pee-pee tape" and asks with a wink, "Are you really, really sure " Trump then stammers, "Uh...it was China...I mean Canada...it was Meryl Streep. Okay, this press conference is over. Thank you all for peeing here...."

The spoof was centered on the unsubstantiated reports by US Intelligence Agencies of Trump watching prostitutes pee in a Moscow hotel, the recording of which is allegedly with Putin.

  • It was described as being in poor taste by Trump supporters, even though SNL is known for its over-the-top parodies.

Trump is reportedly think-skinned about jokes on him. This would make him a better target for satire. All US Presidents have gradually understood that the more they react to satire, the more they become vulnerable to more satire.

Again, Donald Trump is not your regular US President. He has already gained a reputation for being unable to stomach criticism even if it is just for laughs. On Sunday, he pounced on SNL, saying the sketch's host company "@NBCNews is bad but Saturday Night Live is the worst of NBC."

  • "Not funny, cast is terrible, always a complete hit job. Really bad television!" he tweeted. This would have made SNL happy. Even satire maker wants the leaders to react. It adds to their popularity.

While much of Europe seems concerned about Donald Trump's "America First" stance, the Dutch are happy to find a middle ground:"The Netherlands Second."

  • The video introduces President Trump to the Netherlands by declaring, in Trump’s accent, “It is going to be a great video. It is going to be fantastic.” It then proceeds to mock the Netherlands itself. It talks about all the ‘great things’ in the country. Such as a ‘great pony park’, where you can even “grab a pony”. It is funny. It is fantastic. Watch it.

Scotland’s Sunday Herald seized the opportunity to spoof Trump in its print television section. Along with the usual television listings, the paper teased Trump’s Friday inauguration as if it were an upcoming episode of The Twilight Zone.

  • “[T]his huge interactive virtual reality project, which will unfold on TV, in the press, on Twitter over the next four years sets out to build an ongoing alternative present. The story begins in a nightmarish version of 2017, in which huge sections of the U.S. electorate have somehow been duped into voting to make Donald Trump president. It sounds far-fetched, and it is, but as it goes on it becomes more and more chillingly plausible.”

Satire needs a fresh breath of life. However, satire cannot change the world; it can only reflect it.

  • After Henry Kissinger (responsible for the illegal carpet-bombing of Cambodia) was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1973, the American humourist Tom Lehrer said satire was obsolete.
  • With Trump it has been argued that it’s hard to outdo a narcissist who talks so much about himself that satire is not necessary.
  • Trump breaks the classic rule of political humor that says that the only viable response to a joke on you is to laugh harder than anyone else in the room.
  • Trump can reply with equal sarcasm. When his hair was once compared to a wet raccoon, Trump’s rebuttal had a classic rebuttal:“What’s the difference between a wet raccoon and Donald J. Trump’s hair A wet raccoon doesn’t have seven billion f---ing dollars in the bank.”

Then there is the legendary tale about the moment Donald Trump decided to take Barack Obama’s job.It was a satire that started this story.

Many psychoanalysts believe that it all began at the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, where Trump was the butt of jokes by President Obama and “Saturday Night Live” comedian Seth Meyers.

Here is what happened.

  • In 2011, Trump had become more than a television star. He was one of the leaders of the birther movement, a loud campaign that insisted that Obama had not been born in the United States and was not eligible for the presidency. Although the claim was discredited, Trump remained unconvinced of the president’s citizenship.
  • Reporters asked Trump whether he expected any jokes to come his way that fateful night. Sure, he told them:“I’m fine with this stuff.” It was a night of jokes after all.
  • Obama opened his speech with a recording of the Hulk Hogan theme song “Real American” and his birth certificate pulsating on the video screen. “Now, I know that he’s taken some flak lately, but no one is happier, no one is prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than The Donald,” Obama said.“And that’s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter — like, did we fake the moon landing What really happened in Roswell And where are Biggie and Tupac ” Obama also took a jibe at the job of Trump as the judge of reality TV shows.“And these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well handled, sir. Well handled,” he quipped regarding a men’s cookery show Trump judged.
  • Obama continued to land grenades on Trump, who by this time was struggling to continue smiling.“Donald Trump has been saying he will run for president as a Republican — which is surprising, since I just assumed he was running as a joke.” “Trump owns the Miss USA Pageant, which is great for Republicans, because it will streamline their search for a vice president.”

“That evening of public humiliation, rather than sending Mr. Trump away, accelerated his ferocious efforts to gain stature in the political world.” ~ The New York Times in March 2016.

  • Trump had left the venue maintaining he had “a great time” and was “honored” to be targeted by the president. He did not stay longer at the venue.
  • “Trump humiliated” reported most leading dailies the next day.

Trump is having the last laugh now.

Note: It is simplistic to assume that this was the only event that drove him to make an all-out bid for Presidency. Trump mentioned running for president as far back as the 1980s, so the notion that this dinner was the single catalyst for this presidential campaign is absurd. It would have added to his determination - it is not in his nature to take insults kindly. Trump himself denies he was affected by that night’s proceedings.

How, if you will, can Trump inspire you?

Imagine the best that you can achieve in life from now on. Chase that dream relentlessly. Overcome all obstacles, never once letting your esteem take a hit. Never let go of the final destination just because you have crossed many great milestones. Make millions, lose billions, earn billions again, burn most of that to fulfil the dream - even if your age is 70, even if everyone else is busy telling you that it just cannot be done.

Donald J Trump has proved millions wrong, but he was not trying to do that. He was just trying to prove himself right. He is a billionaire, but he was born a modest millionaire. He took business risks which very few have the appetite for. He lost a lot before he won a lot more.

Trump, in his public life — as a developer of famous buildings and a producer of TV shows — realized that there was an opportunity in the American outrage at the rise of inequality in the past two decades. As a non-politician, he understood he would not be seen complicit in any of it even if he associated himself with one of the big two parties.

  • He became the nominee of the party that many see as responsible for increasing inequality in America and in becoming so he was supported by the very people who were at the receiving end of the inequality divide.Isn’t that brilliant
  • He paid for his own campaign (“every penny” he claims) and ran against the entire political class, facing and eliminating 16 powerful rivals for the Republican nomination.Isn’t that respectable
  • The media remained arrogantly hostile to Trump, and Trump fed on that hostility — not just gaining publicity but also ensuring his supporters push for a pro-Trump backlash. Towards the end of his campaign, he launched his own media channel on Facebook. He was playing the media all along while making them feel they are preying on him.Isn’t that creative
  • Most people would crumble under the allegations Trump was subjected to, ranging from financial fraud to sexual assaults. Yet, he kept going with his eyes on the target and away from the temporary distractions.They alleged. He counter-alleged. He moved on. They stayed there. He fought off every allegation with an uncanny calm. No one could stop him from going the distance.Isn’t that inspirational

The critics predicted he won’t act on his promises - that he would change colors after election. They have been proved wrong again. They are now criticizing him for keeping his word to his supporters. They would have criticized him for lying to his supporters if he had acted or even appeared moderate.

It is far easier to criticize the fight than to be in the middle of the ring and fight on. Trump has fought many battles and, he has won in all of them because he does not stop trying.

It is not the critic or the comic who counts. Trump is the one in the White House, signing orders.

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