Tuesday, January 17, 2017 9:42 am
By Folu Olamiti
Few days from now Donald Trump will step into the White House as the 45th American President. The Americans are in fever pitch anticipation waiting for a man whose conduct, so far, has been contrary to the norm. Trump is a novelty in American politics, nay the world. His victory shocked the pundits and soothsayers whose predictions never gave Trump a chance. Why? They could not imagine a man with such crude dispositions and unorthodox style would garner votes to victory. Talk about his mannerisms, they are far away from being normal. Many dismiss his penchant of speaking what they dub the language of the street and directed at the proverbial common man right from the time he started campaigning for his party’s Republican ticket through to the presidential elections.
For the first time, a presidential candidate openly took the media up and spat on their faces for their rabid opposition to his candidacy. To him, given the obvious bias of the mainstream media in favour of his opponent, Hillary Clinton, the Fourth Estate of the Realm had betrayed the cardinal principle of the profession that truth is sacred. He sees majority of the journalists and broadcasters as liars and jokers. He also threw a punch at illegal immigrants, vowing that he would fish them out and get them expelled as soon as he was sworn in. He had a scathing message for the religious bigots – especially the Muslims – threatening once sworn in, he would make the United States too hot for them to stay. To him “they are blood suckers”. .
Trump is now US President elect , rhetorics of electioneering campaigns are gone. The question begging for an answer is : Will he be true to his campaigns promises? A BBC commentary column of 10 November 2016 raised some poignant posers for Trump on tackling
some of the major issues he raised during his electioneering trips across America. I wish to recall few of them in this piece. Already some of his cabinet nominees are talking of the rules of law to implement some of Trump weird policies rather than carrying them out by fiat.
First on his card is the removal of two million illegal immigrants . How he is going to achieve this still remains cloudy. There are only an estimated 178,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records . Even if they are two million, to begin mass deportation on that scale would be hard. However, Americans are waiting for his joker.
Second: The building of Trump Wall. He has slightly changed one of his campaign promises that would make Mexicans finance the building of the wall to now saying the wall will
be built through appropriations process as soon as April. In one of his tweets, Trump said : “The congressional appropriations to build the wall was because of speed”. New York Republican Representative, Chris Collins, echoing that said American tax payers would fund the cost for the wall but that he was confident Trump would negotiate getting the money back from Mexico. “When you understand that Mexico’s economy is dependent upon US consumers, Donald Trump has all the cards he needs to play” . The wall is estimated to cost as much as $10 billion ( N480 billion).
Third: To deny visa- free travel to countries which refuse to take back their citizens. In theory he can, under section212 ( F) of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 152 making reference to President Barack Obama who had used the act to block visas of certain groups. But for Trump to apply the rule to the entire countries of the world may be difficult to achieve.
Fourth: appointment of a new Supreme Court Judge. It is yet to be seen. Though there is a vacancy in the higher echelon of the US court after the death of conservative Antoin Scalia.
President Obama has nominated a replacement but the Republican controlled house has refused to consider it. Mr Trump has an opportunity to nominate a candidate to the Supreme Court. Through this, he could influence decisions on everything from abortion to freedom of the Press and probably same sex marriage.
Fifth: Repealing Obama Care. Already the Republican legislators who now dominated the two houses of Congress have tactically endorsed Trump pledge to have Obamacare repealed as soon as he assumes office. Though this threat will be a tall order to achieve,Trump will need to find a way to overcome a strong Democratic opposition in both houses. To repeal health legislation without an immediate replacement will deny millions of Americans now receiving affordable health care.
Sixth: Cancellation of all payments to the UN climate change programmes. Though he can get the scrapping of payment through the Republican dominated Congress, he will have to contend with Paris Agreement which ratified it as an international law. Withdrawal may take four years or more.
Seventh: Trump who described China as a currency manipulator may be inclined to rattle China with an executive order to remedy what he considered an unacceptable situation. But given the vibrancy of the Chinese economy, whatever measure President Trump might take against China is likely to be of limited effect.
The Trump cabinet is almost in place . These are the men and women who will set the tone of implementing Trump”weirdest” ideas. It is, however, a mixed grill. Some of his nominees do not share the rather extreme positions of Trump on some issues, like the National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, who has a history of tactically supporting anti- Muslim activists , Jefferson Beauregard who believes in equal rights for all and Steve Bannon- Trump’s Chief Strategist- whose selection was most welcome by white supremacists. In a most dramatic twist on Tuesday 9 January 2016, Trump nominee for US Attorney General stunned the Senate Confirmation Panel when he said : ” I abhor the KK Klan and what it represents and its hateful ideology”. Even those placard carrying protesters against his nomination: “Stop the racist pig from getting into power” were dis appointed when he further said, he did not support outright Muslim ban from the U.S. ” We have great Muslim citizens”.
Trump will be carrying a lot of baggage into his office next Friday judging from his last news conference last Wednesday 11 January 2016. As a business man , he maintained he would ever be, though he pledged to transfer the running of his multi- billion dollars businesses to his two sons. His link to Russia is an albatross that is making many Americans to believe that their indomitable world influence will be compromised. And the last which to me will be very hard for him to fight is his disdain for the Press.
The world is waiting for Trump and how he wants to actualise his campaign mantra : ” WE WANT TO TAKE OUR AMERICA BACK” against these odds.
Folu Olamiti (FNGE), Media Consultant, writes from Las Vegas.