Trump, The Irascible President

Even in the face of increasing criticism from both sides of the political fence in the United States, President Donald Trump continues to prove that he is intransigent, unapologetic, incorrigible and – perhaps, worse – still popular on Twitter.

According to a Harvard-Harris poll conducted this month, 42% of Americans approve of Trump’s job performance while 58% disapproved. In September, his approval rating spiked at 45%, but it seems the proverbial Leader of the Free World could care less about polls that speak to his non-performance. As he sees it, pollsters and the media are simply cherry-picking statistics to undermine his best efforts.

From running the economy to seemingly endorsing White supremacy to being insensitive to a fallen soldier’s widow and Hurricane-battered Puerto Rico, Trump has not been popular for the right reasons. Coming into the presidency, the world was already wary of his stance on climate change, which he referred to on the campaign trail as “a hoax”.

But Trump did promise Washington’s departure from the deep pocket influence of mighty Wall Street – which is still outstanding. He also promised that America’s foreign policy and business model would make America great again – for which many remain puzzled as he seems unable to come to grips with the real realities of a world that does not always look like the Trump Plaza.

Earlier this month, ex-Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama chided Trump for reverting America to a time from which much blood, sweat and tears have been invested to tiptoe it from – a dark place where bigotry was the order of the day. Undaunted, Trump has fired back, hitting his critics with tweet after condescending tweet.

This week, two Republican senators — Arizona’s Jeff Flake and Tennessee’s Bob Corker – expressed their outrage at Trump’s outbursts and retrogressive policies.

Flake described Trump’s “reckless, outrageous and undignified behaviour” as a danger to democracy. So affected is he by Trump’s behaviour, Flake, who said he spoke out as “a matter of duty and conscience”, announced that he would not be seeking re-election. He chided Trump for showing “flagrant disregard for truth or decency, the reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons”.

Corker, on the other hand, who labelled Trump a liar, said Trump had reduced America’s image globally and sends the wrong message for the high office that he holds. Corker, too, said he would not be seeking re-elections.

But Trump seems undeterred by their denouncement of his actions, dismissing both senators as either “flake” or “lightweight” as he continues to draw the ire of people across the globe and cause the stock markets some degree of nervousness. So serious is the problem that Trump’s mental faculties are already being questioned and Amendment 25 being a likely consideration to have him removed from office.

While Trump’s behaviour remains a deep cause for concern, what is even more crucial is that the world gets to see an elected official breach convention after convention without any consequences, save for verbal reprimands. Further, Trump’s own behaviour amplifies the historic hypocritical stance for which the United States has been renowned for many decades: dictating to others what to do even as it tramples on its own advice.

With just over three more years to go before his term in office ends, the United States has sadly become a disunited country that seems stuck with an irascible president who seems intent on opening up the old wounds of division. Unfortunately, a cancer like that can spread globally if not kept in check.

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