STRAIGHT TALK

What seemed inconceivable until Nov 8th has now become a reality and Donald Trump has won a stunning, historic election to become the 45th President of the United States of America.

His victory has, without a doubt, raised anxious times for much of the world. The unconventional election campaign of Donald Trump created much uncertainty that the two-month transition failed to clear. Indeed, the unpredictable, almost radical nature of Mr. Trump’s pronouncements, many on Twitter, have often contradicted his own cabinet nominees’ comments.

No one had expected Donald Trump to be all sweetness and conciliatory once he won the White House and as expected, he turned his first press conference into a circus and a slanging match with the media and virtually everyone else in the room, indicating that he really nurses a grudge against the media.

He accused the media of misreporting the size of the crowd attending the inauguration, stating that it was as large as the precious inaugurations, when pictures clearly showed that this was not the case. Major television networks shared a camera at the top of the monument that showed lots of open space during Trump's inauguration as compared to Obama’s inauguration. Trump stated: “As you know, I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth.”

Trump has already been in a heated war of words with the US intelligence community for suggesting that Russia has been behind the hacking of the Democratic National Convention and may have played a key role in clinching the election in his favour.

According to the media, Donald Trump’s speech was probably the shallowest speech ever delivered by an incoming president, endlessly boasting about his ‘tremendous’ talents and those of his team of billionaires to make ‘deals’ and do ‘business’ with the world. In retrospect, chaotic is almost an understatement in describing President Trump’s path to the White House.

In a report about the Russian hacking, National Intelligence Director James Clapper noted: “We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. We also assess Putin and the Russian government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavourably to him.”

Following a briefing by the top sleuths, Trump finally admitted that his hero Putin may have been involved in hacking the US polls. However, he has demanded to see the ‘evidence’, preferring the Russian version over that of his own agencies.

But did Putin really do it? Given the long history of the Russian and US shenanigans in each other’s countries during the Cold War and Putin’s own background as a former spy master, one cannot really put anything past the Kremlin. Putin would have certainly liked to see someone like Trump in the White House, rather than Hillary Clinton and may have pulled some levers to that effect.

As such, Donald Trump has come to the White House under a huge cloud of suspicion and apprehensions about his credibility and suitability for the most powerful job on the planet. After the recent disclosures, many view him as Putin’s revenge on the US and that Trump is like a character in the movie The Manchurian Candidate, which was planted to disrupt America from within. So is fiction becoming a reality?

Trump has presented a stunning, breathtaking contrast against the man he is replacing in the White House. Even after months of electoral campaign, it is not quite clear what Mr. Trump stands for. Many of the new president’s cabinet nominees are hard-core conservatives, but it is not clear whether Mr. Trump will, in fact, embrace a radical social and economic agenda.

Nevertheless, some of the damage is already apparent. For better or worse, the US has been a global leader when it comes to rights-based, liberal democratic values.The actual record may be decidedly mixed, but at least when it comes to promoting progressive, inclusive, democratic values, the US has been a self-professed leader. This notion now looks set to change under Trump.

A Trump presidency could have alarming consequences, especially from Trump’s loose talk about nuclear proliferation to possibly starting a trade war with China and his call for extreme action against ‘Islamic Terrorism’.

On the day of the Presidential Inauguration, an estimated one million people demonstrated in all 50 states and 32 countries, with the crowd chanting slogans like ‘Not My President’ and ‘Dump Trump’.

They were openly hostile to the incoming president. “We’re more than disappointed in Trump. We’re disgusted. Instead of The United States of America, Trump had succeeded in converting it to The Divided States of America.”

The main event was the Women’s March on Washington, which drew at least 200,000 individuals, with concerns about threats to women's rights, including abortion, as well as affordable healthcare and equal pay.

The event had inspired about 300 other similar protests of varying sizes across the country and on every continent. Filmmaker and activist Michael Moore has called for “100 days of resistance” to Trump’s presidency that starts with the women’s march.

Among the Anti Trump groups that have sprouted in the aftermath of the election is Lawyers for Good Government, a new national organization of more than 120,000 lawyers and activists offering pro-bono work to defend civil and human rights. This group says it wants “to harness, empower and coordinate the unprecedented political energy that has emerged” since Trump’s election. There is also an online movement to impeach Donald Trump.

President Donald Trump continues to sign controversial executive orders, including cancelling of trade agreements, a wall to stop Mexicans entering America and a visa ban on seven Muslim countries. All these actions have been condemned by world leaders and citizens throughout the world.

As one protester sobbed, “The Great Lady weeps as Donald Trump tries to extinguish her light of hope and freedom that has been burning since October 1886 as you enter New York harbour of this great country.”

How all this will end, only time will tell, but let us all hope for the best.

Email: trust@helplinetrust.org.pk