Donald Trump, America and me first

Donald Trump, America and me first
Donald Trump, America and me first

WASHINGTON | “Some people think I’m a real genius.”

Provocations, insults and mocking tweets in support, Donald has written an entirely extraordinary chapter in the history of the United States.

So much so that the presidential election on Tuesday, where he will seek, at 74, a second term, is presented as a real referendum on his person, on a completely new style of presidency.

• Read also: The mixed economic record of the Trump years

Both a symptom and multiplier of America’s fears and fractures, this showman president has always refused, once installed in the White House, to put on the clothes of unifier, a departure from his predecessors.

Even at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed more than 226,000 lives in the United States, and as America sought a stable and reassuring voice, it stubbornly rejected any presidentialization, has never shows empathy.

For four years, Americans have attended (enthusiastic, distraught or frightened) the unprecedented spectacle of a president who came to power with a bang, and imposing no constraints on himself.

The authoritarian drift or the economic collapse announced by some on November 8, 2016, the day of his thunderclap election, did not take place.

The institutions, often abused, have demonstrated their robustness and many indicators (employment figures in the lead) have long been in good shape before the devastating impact of the coronavirus.

” I have fun “

But in a presidency saturated with scandals, which contrasts sharply with that of Barack Obama, the septuagenarian with the long red tie has damaged the office, attacked judges, elected officials and officials, and fueled racial tensions.

Beyond its borders, it has bullied the allies of the United States, displayed a disturbing fascination with authoritarian rulers, from Vladimir Putin to Kim Jong-un, and brutally slowed down mobilization on the weather.

Player, boastful, triumphant face of uninhibited populism, the one who, according to the murderous formula of the writer Philip Roth, uses “a vocabulary of 77 words”, has made his admirers and detractors lose the sense of proportion. .

The 45th president in history has also suffered the infamy of an impeachment impeachment in Congress that will remain as an indelible stain.

“The show is ‘Trump’ and it is sold out everywhere. I have fun doing it and I will continue to have fun ”.

The sentence, taken from an interview the real estate mogul gave to Playboy magazine in 1990, may have been spoken yesterday. And apply to each of his days at the head of the world’s leading power.

“Bottomless Pinocchio”

Endowed with a real talent as a tribune who has done wonders on the country stands, the billionaire with intriguing blond hair has succeeded in the feat of positioning himself as the spokesperson for America of the “forgotten” and “pitiful” , in the contemptuous expression of her 2016 Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Demonstrating a real political flair, he was able to capture the anxieties of an America (mostly white, rather elderly) which felt scorned by the “elites” of the East Coast and Hollywood stars on the West Coast.

This big consumer of hamburgers and Coke Diet, who had carved out a solid place in American homes thanks to the reality TV show “The Apprentice”, relentlessly applied a simple rule: occupy space, to any price.

Contempt for science, approximations, untruths: his statements forced the team of “fact-checkers” of the Washington Post to create a new category: “The Bottomless Pinocchio”, for false or misleading statements repeated more than 20 times.

From the famous “West Wing” of the White House, the former businessman has, on all occasions, dug the gap between two Americas, the red (Republican) and the blue (Democrat).

Far from appealing like Abraham Lincoln in 1861 to “the share of light in each of us”, he tirelessly played on fears.

By shaking, from the announcement of his candidacy in 2015, the specter of illegal migrants “rapists”. And posing, during the 2020 campaign, as the sole guarantor of “law and order” in the face of the threat of the “radical left”.

In a country yet fond of moments (even fleeting) of national unity, it has only very rarely known or wanted to find the tone to heal the wounds, even after a natural disaster or a bloody shooting.

He used his violent attacks on the media (described as “dishonest”, “corrupt” and “enemies of the people”) to turn one part of the country even more against another.

Remarkable fact: the former owner of the Miss Universe pageant is the only president in history whose popularity has never reached the 50% mark during his tenure.

Demolition company

His opponents and supporters alike agree on one point: Donald Trump has, in fact, kept some of his campaign promises.

As he had announced, he threw away a number of hard-negotiated treaties or pacts, foremost among them the Paris climate agreement, concluded by almost all the countries of the planet in an attempt to limit the dreaded runaway climate machine.

• Read also: Joe Biden, a life in politics to the test of the polls

But this fidelity to campaign commitments first took place in deconstruction and demolition.

On his initiatives, the record is poorer. It is striking on the Iranian nuclear file: he tore up the hard-negotiated agreement by his predecessor, increased the pressure on Tehran until the elimination of the powerful Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, but never presented a real strategy.

The great peace plan in the Middle East, entrusted to Jared Kushner, son-in-law and advisor with all the qualities, never came to fruition.

However, he can claim to have moved the lines in the region by sponsoring the normalization of relations between the Hebrew state with three Arab countries: the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.

The death, in October 2019, of the leader of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi during an American operation in Syria, will undoubtedly remain to his credit as a highlight of his presidency.

His greatest daring, his greatest blow, for which he had found himself dreaming aloud of the Nobel Peace Prize, did not have the expected return on investment.

The two summits with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the hugs and the complicity displayed during a historic visit to the demilitarized zone, the “alchemy”, the “magnificent” letters: the effort was in vain. The regime has not budged on the central issue of denuclearization.

In the complex and shifting geopolitics of the 21st century, Donald Trump has personally targeted Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Theresa May.

The sharpest warning did not come from his political opponents, but from Jim Mattis, head of the Pentagon. In his resignation letter, this general reminded the President of the United States of a simple rule of diplomacy: “Treat the allies with respect”.

“Wobbly nationalism”

In an unprecedented political scenario that no Conservative had predicted, Donald Trump, with his ability to electrify his electoral base, put the Republican Party in his shoes, which he had initially underestimated or even ignored.

From time to time, elected representatives of the “Grand Old Party” expressed their disagreement, as with his extraordinarily conciliatory attitude towards Vladimir Poutine in Helsinki.

But, over time, they united. Much to the chagrin of a few dissenting voices, such as that of former senator John McCain, who, before his death in August 2018, warned against the temptation of “wobbly and spurious nationalism”.

Donald Trump has always operated on a simple principle: for or against him, without nuances.

The ex-boss of the FBI, James Comey, brutally sacked, mentioned in his memoirs a president who submits his entourage to a code of loyalty reminding him of the attitude of mafia bosses observed at the beginning of his career as a prosecutor.

Cascading scandals

Born in Queens, New York, educated in military school, Donald J. Trump joined the family business after studying business.

Contrary to the legend he has built for himself, he is not a “self-made man”. After World War II, his father, Fred Trump, a descendant of a German immigrant, had already built an empire in New York City by building buildings for the middle class in popular neighborhoods.

And when the New York Times revealed that he paid just $ 750 in federal income tax in 2016 and many of the businesses racked up losses, his image as a successful entrepreneur took another hit. .

Father of five children born to three different women, ten times a grandfather, Donald Trump has never stopped publicly praising Melania, the former model who has become “magnificent First Lady”.

But the revelations about his alleged extramarital affairs, particularly with pornstar Stormy Daniels, and the sexual assault charges against him don’t fit well with his repeated word-for-word praise of family values ​​on every encounter with Christians. evangelicals.

By relying on a tight family circle, but also on an “instinct” always put forward, Donald Trump, whose fall has been announced a thousand times, will have survived all the scandals.

As if, by dint of accumulation, they no longer had a hold on him.

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