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Today, Donald Trump will become President of America – and one of the most powerful men in the world. Having destroyed conventional political strategy and won an election against the predictions of almost everybody, the concept of President Donald J. Trump is causing some concern. But don’t panic just yet, because it may be that a Trump Presidency won’t be as bad as you think…
Donald Trump has often described the UK as a ‘very special ally’, and there is evidence that he will focus on rebuilding the special relationship between the UK and the US. Whereas Obama’s ‘closest international partner’ during his administration was Germany (some suggested he never ‘gave the impression of liking Britain’), Trump has said he ‘feels half British’. Indeed, the President Elect’s mother was born in Scotland, he has multiple assets in the UK and will be meeting Theresa May ‘right after’ he takes office. In these difficult times, a strong relationship with our American friends is critical to our security and prosperity.
In these difficult times, a strong relationship with our American friends is critical to our security and prosperity
Like it or not, Britain is almost guaranteed to leave the EU, and a Trump administration is set to make that process easier. The President Elect told The Times that he thinks Brexit will be a ‘great thing’, and that he will seek a trade deal that is ‘good for both [the UK and US]…very very quickly’. Given the UK exports more than $50 billion of goods and services to the US each year, Trump’s willingness to make a fair deal fast is in stark contrast to Obama’s threat that the UK would be at the ‘back of the queue’ in the event of a ‘Leave’ vote in the referendum.
As his friend Piers Morgan has argued, Donald Trump is ‘not an angel’, but ‘not the monster’ some have made him out to be – we are all familiar with the plethora of negative stories about Mr Trump, some of which are demonstrably incorrect. For example, he probably didn’t mock a disabled reporter as has been widely claimed. Indeed there is evidence that he uses the same gesticulations and noises when imitating anyone he doesn’t like and had been doing so for some time:
Yes, one can argue that this behaviour is not exactly presidential, and that calling out journalists publicly for doing their job is wrong, but as the video demonstrates, this may be an unfortunate coincidence, and not a horrific and cruel imitation of a disabled person.
Similarly – do people really believe he watched prostitutes urinating on each other? As Trump himself said if it were true it would have been ‘the biggest thing’ and on the ‘front page of the New York Post’.
So why isn’t it on the front page? The truth is that the media had this dossier – full of frankly bizarre and explosive claims – for months, but despite all their journalistic ability the claims could not be verified. As the Executive Editor of the New York Post, Dean Baquet, stated ‘We, like others, investigated the allegations’ but are ‘not in the business of publishing things we can’t stand by’. Buzzfeed’s decision to publish the dossier – which their editor accepts was ‘unverified’ has been widely criticised, and acts as a reminder that not everything we read and share online is true.
On paper, Donald Trump will be a very powerful President – The Republicans have control of both Houses of Congress and will have the balance of power on the Supreme Court, once Trump’s nominee is in place. However, this masks the reality. The lack of support for Trump amongst senior Republicans – including former Presidents – and the party at large is likely to restrain his power.
On paper, Donald Trump will be a very powerful President
Additionally, the constitution itself limits the power of the President. Trump will not be able to initiate legislation or start a war. Crucially, Congress has the ‘power of the purse strings’ – the money – and has the ability to impeach the President and remove him from office. Indeed, according to the House Speaker Paul Ryan, Trump ‘feels very strongly…that the constitution is restored’ so that Congress’ powers are respected.
It would be foolish to suggest that Trump will not be powerful – he will still have the nuclear codes, after all – but the US’s system of ‘checks and balances’ ensures the President does not have absolute control of one of the world’s largest super powers.
The Donald has noted that, at the beginning of the primaries, he had 3 months political experience whilst his fellow republican runners had a combined experience of 236 years. Yes, political experience might be important for a President, but does a business background not provide some benefits? Indeed, polls on both sides of the Atlantic suggest voters are sick of professional politicians.
He had 3 months political experience whilst his fellow republican runners had a combined experience of 236 years
Surely in a job where deal-making is critical, and as the boss of the world’s largest workforce, there are clear benefits to a President with a business background. Will he not be used to pressure, understanding of large and complex organisations and ready to be firm when required? He may not be perfect, but perhaps it might work.
It is this background, according to Piers Morgan, that resulted in some of Trump’s more ludicrous campaign promises. Morgan argues that promises (like the Mexican wall) are a ‘negotiating point that he starts from’ that can’t be ‘taken too literally’. Although it is wrong to make promises that aren’t fulfilled, Trump is not the first candidate in history to do so. Perhaps this explanation gives some hope that these promises won’t happen and maybe this unconventional approach will result in better policy outcomes. Either way, bringing a different perspective to the Oval office may not be a bad thing.
The reality, gentlemen, is that Donald J. Trump will be the 45th President of the United States. He won the election, and he will now be the most powerful man on earth. Many people find this prospect terrifying, but perhaps not all is as bad as it seems…