Trump’s troubling first month
Neil Joseph | Tuesday, November 29, 2016
I’ll be the first person to tell you that I didn’t expect Donald Trump to be elected a few weeks ago. I honestly thought that Hillary Clinton was a strong enough candidate and that Donald had made far too many mistakes (a light word to describe all of the things that he’s said), and people wouldn’t be able to look past everything that he’s done. Well, I was wrong. And I was stunned on election night. As time passed, however, I began to think about what a Donald Trump presidency would mean, how he would govern and how the time until his inauguration could ease the worries and doubts that me and many others had.
It’s undeniable that Donald Trump’s campaign was unlike any other we’ve ever seen. Nothing he did was traditional or “establishment.” Much of it consisted of getting as much publicity as possible, wherever and whenever he could. At the same time however, he did a lot of things that seemingly took us back 100 years — from racist and sexist comments to giving legitimacy to conspiracy theories, his actions worried people on both sides of the aisle. At the end of the day, this is what many people were worried about, including myself – and that’s why his first month was so important. His first month would show just how he attempted to transition from campaign mode to governing mode, and whether or not he will attempt to moderate any of his positions.
Firstly, Trump has done little to quell the fears that his campaign brought about in minority communities. Throughout his campaign, the divisive and hateful rhetoric that his campaign ignored, enabled and even participated in led many people to believe that a Trump presidency would lead to hate — both within a Trump presidency and around the country. And his first month has done little to convince us otherwise. His appointment of Steve Bannon, the leader of alt-right website Breitbart, gave us no indication that he was going to vehemently reject the nasty parts of his campaign. His appointment of General Michael Flynn, a staunch proponent of a Muslim ban, for National Security Adviser told us that he refused to back off some of the statements that gave pause to so many of our fellow citizens.
Furthermore, it seems like he has not learned to restrain his own narcissistic side — specifically on Twitter. Although in the last few weeks of the campaign it seemed that he showed remarkable self-control, his actions as president-elect have been anything but controlled. He felt the need to lash out at the cast of “Hamilton” for addressing concerns to Vice-President Elect Mike Pence. Additionally, he stoked a (undeniably false) conspiracy theory that there were a large amount of illegal immigrants who voted in states around the country in the election. All of these things, every single one, come from a need to feel validated and attack those who attack himself.
So what does this mean? It means that the American people and others in government must hold him accountable. It means that senators and congressmen need to call him out when he appoints people who fundamentally reject the values that America was founded upon. It’s clear that he won’t moderate who he is or who he surrounds himself with — so Americans and politicians, Democrats and Republicans and even people who surround him must have the courage to tell him that the things he are doing are wrong. Because even though a plurality of people voted for him, he represents all Americans — and he has to do that in every action that he takes.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.