Letter to America (No. 2) 16/02/17
16 years ago, in 2001, another President who lost the popular vote, George W Bush, took his place in the annals of history as the 43rd President of the United States. This year, in 2017, Donald J Trump, who also lost the popular election vote by around 3 million votes, has in the last month taken the office as 45th President of the United States. Both campaigns were run on the grounds of polarised politics. The campaigns and the initial weeks in office have similarities with both Republican Presidents then, as now; the country and the world watch in a state of shock as the current GOP administration implements divisive and appalling measures in the form of Executive Orders (EOs) and Presidential Memoranda (PMs).
This time the Republican Commander-in-Chief is a businessman and television host who has taken on a new role as PoTUS: as he has become the 45th President of the United States of America, a large portion of the global population is aware of his rise to the most powerful position in the Western world.
PoTUS #45 loves the attention that this new role has brought to him, he has garnered attention ever since he was a young man who inherited his father’s wealth from the family property business. What he does not like is the negative attention and people disagreeing with him and his status. It seems that PoTUS #45’s ego cannot abide criticism. However, from his first day in office PoTUS #45 has experienced volumes of opposition – the Women’s March on 21st January 2017 reportedly had larger crowds than at the previous day’s inauguration. The figures of the inaugural attendance – and the size of the election win – have remained sticking (and frequent talking points) for PoTUS #45 and his staff.
There is an abundance of criticism levelled at both PoTUS #45 and members of his cabinet and staff. Firstly PoTUS #45, does not appear to posses or have the ability to share any global political history or diplomacy facts. He has a limited vocabulary and appears unable to grasp the minutia of complex political relationships. Unlike Harry S Truman (33rd President) – initially an unknown quantity in the political arena – PoTUS #45 does not have any of the hallmarks of a potentially great but yet undiscovered President.
His rise and election continues to bewilder and baffle the majority of the country and the world. In his first month in office he has signed a large number of Executive Orders and Presidential Memoranda, seemingly in an effort to stamp his authority on to the Office of President. This authoritarianism of the new PoTUS verges on the edge of being a dictatorship or fascism. PoTUS #45 does not appreciate any criticism of his government stance; he uses social media regularly to express his upset on a daily, and sometimes hourly, basis. James Madison, the father of the American system of government of the Constitution, said, ”Government begins with the recognition that men are born to disagree.”
A daily tracking Gallup poll shows that PoTUS #45 has the lowest job approval rating (currently -40%) of any modern President. Previous Presidents – Obama and Clinton had high +50s approval ratings during the earliest months of their administrations, even though they both had strong opposition to many of their policies and administrative actions. The job disapproval rate of PoTUS #45 has a high of +55%, according to the ongoing Gallup poll; these figures signify a growing dissatisfaction with the performance of the President and his administration.
There have been a swathe of disagreements between the GOP and its opposition that started on the campaign trail and have not ceased. The administration of PoTUS #45 has thus far been one of chaos, dysfunction and incompetence, with disagreements both within the party and from political observers. The first month has highlighted the inexperience of both the PoTUS and his inner circle as incoherent policies and badly managed political events have occurred on a regular basis; the first few weeks have seen a flurry of PMs and EOs being signed and issued.
One particular EOs (issued on 27th January 2017 – a week after the inauguration) has caused great public and legal outcry resulting in thousands of Americans taking to the streets to object to the content of the ban, and the affect that it has on refugees and green card holders alike; the implementation of this EO is seen as an erosion of citizens’ democratic rights and the claim that it is illegal has been upheld by the Department of Justice who have overturned the EO. Refugees who had undergone strict vetting over several years and were in transit were disembarked from their flights or returned to their original locations as the travel ban was clumsily rolled out across the country and the impact was felt throughout the world.
The Court of Appeals also denied the Government’s appeal to stay the ban, they stated, “We hold that the government has not shown a likelihood of success on the merits of its appeal, nor has it shown that failure to enter a stay would cause irreparable injury, and we therefore deny its emergency motion for a stay.”
The response to this EO was the continuation of a non-violent rise of public dissent throughout the world; the tumultuous beginning of this political term within the White House has mobilised a community who are in opposition to many of the policies and comments arising from this nascent GOP administration.
These first twenty-five days have been riddled with divisions, controversies, ethics issues and deliberate distractions. The inept press office and personal advisors are a prime example of the turmoil that is the face of this administration. Many will be quick to note that all administrations have teething problems, and these are early days, however, this level of disorganisation and ineffective governance cannot be sustained either by the Government or the country. Washington and beyond are reeling from the chasms being created within the White House and rippling throughout the political world as decades of international relations are undone with many casual, uneducated statements and actions.
After a campaign run around drama and comments designed to incite passions on all sides of the political spectrum, PoTUS #45 has continued in the same mode now that he is in situ in the White House. He surrounds himself with family and friends – many of who have little or no political experience, and he refuses to acknowledge faults and errors that persist from himself and his team. Blame for any failing is placed squarely at the door of the media who continue to report the real-life tragicomedy that is occurring in the American political system.
Stephen Miller, a senior policy advisor to PoTUS #45 is on record as saying that the new President “has accomplished more in just a few weeks than many Presidents do in an entire administration”, also – with particular regard to the EO on immigration (27th January 2017), Miller states, “The end result of this, though, is that our opponents, the media, and the whole world will soon see, as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial, and will not be questioned.” This statement is symbolic of the face of the GOP administration under the lead of PoTUS #45, it is one that runs like an unstable dictatorship.
Since January 20th 2017, the revered office of PoTUS has been weaken to its foundations as incompetence and unsubstantiated information have become the overriding currency of the 45th President’s tenure.
©Marjorie H Morgan 16/02/17