Those who think President Donald Trump spends his time on Twitter do not see the real scene as he’s cautiously walking on tight ropes and he’s surrounded by enemies who are shaking these rope in an attempt to make him fall.
One of the most dangerous ropes is the internal American nationalist movement, which played a big role in getting him to the White House. He wittingly rose through its anger which escalated during 8 years of Obama’s rule. This white base was thrilled when he won.
During the inauguration speech, he looked like a populist president from the third world but he was acting right as a politician who knew well whom he was addressing. He thanked this base and repeated the slogan “America First,” the enthusiastic slogan, which this base alone is behind.
President Trump take this influential electoral base into consideration but this may cause unexpected problems. Trump was recently criticized for saying there were good people with the extremists among the racist white supremacist movement that protested in Charlottesville in Virginia and whom one of its members rammed into people killing a woman.
Actually, Trump at the beginning delivered a good speech condemning these racist groups but he appeared in a press conference a day after and made this lapse. It wasn’t a lapse in Trump’s mind though because he’s thinking about his popularity and does not want to be viewed as someone accusing his supporters of racism.
He probably felt that his first speech would be interpreted as such and thus affect him so he tried to correct the situation and attacked the left which is really suffering from an unprecedented state of disobedience and intolerance. His critics said the time is not right to attack leftist groups and the media launched an attack describing him as a racist.
Those who make mean insults against Trump are not the Democrats and liberals but the Republicans who think that he hijacked their partyMamdouh AlMuhaini
These critics and accusations are the last thing he’s thinking of though as he wanted to tell his audience that he’s still their man in the White House. He’s a frank man who says the embarrassing facts which people hate to hear and which politicians avoid to say out of fear of the trolling media and angry people.
It’s for this base’s sake that Trump is wittingly placing his feet on the edge of the abyss to satisfy it. This is why he said he will ban Muslims from entering the US during the electoral campaign. Once elected, he made the decision to ban the citizens of seven countries. This is in addition to his statements about the wall with Mexico and the fierce war against terrorists and illegal immigrants.
However, there is one man who had an important role in mobilizing this white base, and it is Steve Bannon who was recently removed from his role at the White House. Perhaps removing him will turn out to be a wrong decision that Trump regrets in the future. Michael Flynn, the former national security advisor, made a mistake and had to leave. He was a fierce fighter and military commander but he was not a provoking man who pressed the psychological buttons which mobilized people like the dangerous Bannon does.
Bannon’s exit will be read as giving up on the people who got Trump into the White House and it will be viewed as abandoning the message that aims to shatter the political institution with its republican and democratic aspects and break outdated traditions. In the conversation between Trump and Bannon before the latter was removed from his post, he promised Trump that he will defend him and attack and the elite and the institution.
However, after he was removed, Bannon said in The Weekly Standard: “The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over.” Bannon, who returned to lead Breitbart News as editor-in-chief, also criticized Trump’s plan to keep a bigger number of troops in Afghanistan. (His analysis is of course wrong but he’s only viewing the matter from the US domestic perspective.)
Bannon’s exit is a loss for Trump but the latter is also a man who has his audience. He knows how to mobilize people and unite them. However he certainly lost an influential and significant man. Trump also has his reasons which explain his move and which actually reveal the second dangerous tight rope he’s walking on.
The liberal leftist movement launched a fierce campaign against Bannon and described him as a racist and a demon. They tried to cause problems between him and Trump by saying that he’s the one who rules America and manages the White House. All these were false allegations and failed attempts.
However the real conflict was inside the White House between Bannon and members of Trump’s administration, particularly with national security advisor Mcmaster, Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and his daughter Ivanka. The conflict between them is ideological as there’s a deep dispute regarding the working methods. All three have a conservative mentality with a liberal touch, unlike Bannon, the impelled nationalist. All three believe in cooperation with the traditional republican institutions and communicating with democracy while Bannon despises it and believes in destroying it and replacing it.
In the end, the team consisting of Trump’s son-in-law and daughter won against Bannon. After the failure to repeal and replace Obamacare, Trump clearly realized that if he wants to achieve some of the promises he made to his voters, then he must make some concessions to the veteran Republicans and ask for their help.
Keeping Bannon, who insults them, away is a message to get closer to them. However, these republicans and neither Ivanka nor her husband can mobilize people like Bannon and his fiery speech can. According to Trump, what matters now are the achievements in cooperation with the institution he previously mocked. The task of revolutionizing the people now falls on him.
This leads us to the third tight rope Trump is walking on, which is that of the Republican Party which he abandoned his best man for its sake. This party which twice failed to topple Obama despised its candidate, Trump, at the beginning and began to run after him after he won the presidency. It is a tense relation where deep hatred, apparent love and mutual interests mix up.
Those who make mean insults against Trump the most are not the Democrats and liberals but the Republicans who think that he hijacked their party, trivialized it and destroyed it to serve his interests and selfish aims. The biggest treason came from McCain who stabbed him in the back when he surprisingly changed his mind during voting and prevented repealing Obamacare.
Trump cooperated with the party, which he does not trust because it is the only way to achieve any domestic progress. At the same time, he does not want his supporters to view him as the traditional republican but as the leader who does not care about the anger of the corrupt elite.
This is what Trump comprehends and repeatedly does. He must walk cautiously. He does not want to separate from the people and at the same time, he does not want to lose those who hold the key to fulfilling achievements.
These are the three tight dangerous ropes and not the media, which is actually an easier battle for Trump. It is a clear war with clear enemies who want to get rid of him as soon as possible or exhaust him until he is an easy prey in the next elections against democratic competitors.
However, he is exploiting these attacks against him to increase his popularity. This is why Trump does not restrain his punches in response to their war and he is escalating the tone via controversial statements and tweets.
The more they crucify him on liberal television channels, the more he is loved by the conservative supporters who view him as their messenger and savior.
This article is also available in Arabic.
Mamdouh AlMuhaini is the Editor-in-Chief of Al Arabiya News Channel’s digital platforms. He can be followed on Twitter @malmhuain.