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"Trump has indeed lost the plot"

ALTERNATIVE PERSPECTIVES: President Donald Trump

PRESIDENT TRUMP appears to have lost the plot after less than a year into the job which Obama and many observers, including members in his own party, had predicted.

This was clearly evident on Tuesday, August 15 at a press conference which was supposed to be on infrastructure but quickly descended into a typical The Media vs. Trump brawl sparked by recent events in Charlottesville where KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists came face-to-face with protesters. Trump reverted to type, equally blaming both groups and a host of others, including a consternation of politicians from both major parties and even the two former Bush presidents.

This event followed a tumultuous month including bellicose rhetoric on North Korea, fights with the Republican Senate majority leader regarding the failure of that body to pass a bill on healthcare, the denigration of his Justice Secretary, the dismissal of key aides and the continuing Russian election investigation.

The administration appeared to have taken corrective action with the appointment of the well-respected General Kelly to replace Priebus as chief of staff - and then came Charlottesville.


ATTACK: A white supremacist grabs a counter-protestor during the Charlottesville rally on August 12

The Charlottesville crisis is however only one more of the constant barrage of chaotic events never seen before in this office. Trump who came to 'make America great again' appears to have only brought chaos into the system, further damaging his incoherent agenda, his party and America.

The Charlottesville fiasco has shown Trump’s real colours. The well-prepared statement on Monday, which, in alignment with other politicians, lambasted the neo-Nazis, was not really Trump. A combative Trump in the press conference on Tuesday in which he reiterated a moral equivalence between neo-Nazis and protesters as he did in his first statement was the real Trump, juxtaposed with the caged animal of Monday.

It is hard to imagine that a president of the USA, a country which had fought wars to free enslaved African-Americans and against Nazi Germany, would refer to neo-Nazis as “good people”. It is hard to believe that a president of the USA would support a general who had rebelled against the federal government because the rebels wanted to keep a section of the populace in slavery and compared that general to heroes of the American Revolution. Where else in the world would you have a statue of a rebel who tried to break up a country getting the support of the president of that country? It is hard to believe that the President would support neo-Nazis who are advocating hatred and subjugation of non-whites.


DETAINED: Police grab a counter-protestor at the bloody and violent white supremacist-led event in Charlottesville, August 12

Trump claimed that his original statement and the delay in issuing the much-appreciated denunciation of the neo-Nazis was because he was waiting for facts on what really happened. This goes against numerous actions he has taken regarding terrorist incidents around the world, when he has frequently Tweeted condemnation and inflammatory statements about perpetuators almost in real-time.

And, Trump has remained silent on attacks against Muslims, which even happened in his own country, whilst lambasting attacks by Muslims abroad.

The Charlottesville incident has confirmed that Trump is beholden to neo-Nazis who regard themselves as superior to all other races in this polyglot nation.

Crucially, for the self-styled doyenne of the business world, the Charlottesville fiasco has resulted in a barrage of criticism from business leaders. Mass resignations from two councils on manufacturing and general business that he had set-up have resulted in him disbanding both groups.

However, the rot started well before this incident. He has yet to get any significant legislative win and is obsessed with Obama’s legacy, no doubt because of his racist tendency. His attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare has flopped and he faces major hurdles in the rest of his legislative agenda, namely, tax reform and infrastructure.


AWKWARD: President Trump, left, with former President Barack Obama, whose legacy he seems fixated with destroying

He has a crowded schedule in the next few months which, together with his lack of a clear and coherent vision and strategy, experience in politics, interest in the intricacies of policy formulation and his laziness will make him one of the most ineffectual leaders the country has had.

Republicans in congress are pushing the president to move on to tax reform even though Trump is still obsessed with health care. Tax reform is a minefield that Trump is ill-prepared to deal with. It was assumed that savings from health care would have been used to part fund the tax giveaway that Republicans planned - that is no longer possible. There are many competing interests and Trump has shown that he is unable to deal with such complexities.

Recent polls have shown that the public is not enamoured with the idea of the huge tax reductions for corporations that the Republicans have been touting. The public appears to believe, by and large that personal taxes are currently fair.

Crucially, observers have noted that the administration’s position in two areas have resulted in missed opportunities to raise revenue and conflict with Trump’s stated objective of making the US more competitive.

NOT ALL DOOM AND GLOOM

The administration has also abandoned the Border Adjustment Tax (BAT) proposal that had been championed by Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House. That proposal, which includes the move to tax imported goods consumed in the US but not exports, much like the value added tax in most industrial countries, would have raised significant income for the Treasury while giving US-based producers a competitive advantage, thereby also helping stem the country’s huge trade deficit. Trump is therefore not adhering to his 'America first' principle but also losing out on significant revenues.

It's not all doom and gloom for Trump’s agenda because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently assaulting America’s environment by dismantling Obama’s rules and Executive Orders which have protected country’s land, water and air.

Also, the Justice Secretary, like Trump, an ethno-nationalist, is tightening immigration to effectively stem the diversification of America – the majority of immigrants are non-white and the birth rate of non-whites is higher than for whites, hence their concern.

Trump has indeed lost the plot and it is hard to see how he can resuscitate his chaotic administration, ever embroiled in one scandal or another. He has antagonised and insulted members of his team, party and the business community. That, and his lack of success and unpopularity are making it hard for him to lead his party even though they control both houses of congress.

In 2018 the House of Representative and some Senators will be facing voters and he is likely to be an albatross on his party, if he has not been impeached by then.

J. Boima Rogers is Principal Consultant at Media and Event Management Oxford (MEMO).

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