At noon last Friday, Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. His inauguration ushered in a new era in American politics.
In his inaugural speech, President Trump invoked some of the same brash tones and bombastic verbiage used in his election campaign which garnered immense popularity and captured the imagination of the displeased electorate. He also ignited the hopes of millions who felt let down by previous administrations.
Mr. Trump’s cavalier use of language is new to American politics. His rhetoric was similar to President Reagan who said “government is the problem.” However, it is typical for Presidents when delivering inaugural addresses to indulge in broad platitudes and generalities to lay out their vision. President Donald Trump was no different.
As an outsider to the political establishment, and with a modicum of ideological foundation, Mr. Trump delivered a stern warning to the members of Congress that it will not be politics as usual under his administration. He pledged to work for all the people and to put America first in all decisions, be it on trade, taxes, immigration or foreign affairs. He has promised to transfer power from the government to the people, combat “radical Islamic terrorism” and make American great again. Nonetheless, he painted a very dark picture of an America consumed by crime and poverty and declared that he will never let the people down.
Yet those who voted for Hillary Clinton have already felt let down by Mr. Trump, especially during the transitional period as President-elect. His inauguration speech did little to assure those who felt uneasy and distraught by his campaign of xenophobia, misogyny, and racism. Some, mostly women, were so overwhelmed by his threat to defund Planned Parenthood and repeal the Affordable Care Act, referred to as Obamacare, took their sentiments onto the streets in mass demonstrations.
Less than a day after he was sworn as President, mass protests in Washington DC, New York, Los Angeles and several other cities in the United States attracted more than three million women, men and children, including many stars.
For over a year, Mr. Trump played on the worst fears of Americans, many of whom had distrusted politicians. He capitalized on the emotions of those who believe that the United States was not aggressive enough with terrorist groups and illegal immigration, and that it compromised too much on trade deals with China and Mexico that ended up costing many workers their jobs. A shrewd businessman and not a politician per se, President Trump has promised to use his business acumen to effect major changes to the way that the country is run. His ultimate challenge will be to right the wrongs as he sees them.
Mr. Trump spoke kindly of outgoing President Obama, but did not mention Hillary Clinton or the millions who voted for her. While he quoted from the Bible about God’s people living together in unity, his divisive policies and racist rants toward immigrants are not befitting for the Presidency of the United States. The billionaire business magnate has also disappointed many with some of his Cabinet choices without proper disclosure of conflicts of interest. His own business arrangements also do not conform to the traditional ethics guidelines.
In many ways, President Trump enters office in a far better position than Mr. Obama did. In 2008, the US economy was in recession due to the subprime mortgage crisis. Mr. Obama pledged change and while he did not achieve it to the extent that he would have hoped, he did turn the US economy around and effected radical social reforms in healthcare and on issues such as gay rights. However, his legacy is not secured. President Trump has already signed documents to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Mr. Trump has many challenges ahead. The US Senate has launched an investigation of Russia’s role in the election and a dossier on Mr. Trump which alleges that he was compromised by Russia. That said, we should probably listen to the Pope and judge President Trump for what he does.
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